Today as I read our scripture, I was challenged by the verbs Jesus uses. Verbs are active words, they tell us to go, jump, run, love etc. Today's section has many prominent pieces within it, but for today let's focus on the simplicity of Jesus' words.
"Do not go out or follow them"
"Remember Lot's wife"
"Hear what the unrighteous judge says"
"Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven"
and "Come, follow me"
When I think of Jesus’ ministry and his followers, I think of travel and movement. The disciples literally walked with, ate with, slept in proximity of and in every sense of the word followed Jesus physically. So today I pose the question, if we are following Jesus, why have we not moved?
Personally, fear is always the excuse I give Jesus when He tells me to do something. I offer a small fight and then brush off what He said to do. That’s not always the case and when I do listen to Him and go do what He says, consistently my life is changed. Jesus is doing, God is moving, the Spirit is guiding. Our God is alive and living within us. I’ve found that the moments when I say yes and go act in His name, I feel His presence strongest and most purely in my life, because I am not just obeying a command, but accompanying Jesus on a journey where He is going even if I refuse to.
This past summer I interned in Los Angeles, California for a ministry. Ironically I was placed with a ministry that I specifically told God I would not do. After researching LA, I told Him, “Lord, anywhere, but Skid Row” (If you’re not familiar with this area of L.A. I encourage you to Google it to understand my point of view here).
So, I told Him I would not go to Skid Row and lo and behold, my first day in Los Angeles, my director told me that Skid Row is my ministry “site”. I ended up working on Skid Row most days of the week, sometimes multiple times a day for three months.
Long story short, that was the best summer of my life.
Among the high addicts, yelling drunks, prostitutes, pimps, gangsters, disabled veterans, vagabonds and everyone else in between that ended up homeless on “the armpit of the United States”, I found myself and experienced Jesus in a way I never have before. I could not have led volunteer teams through the streets of Skid Row without Jesus. I could not make friends with drug dealers and crack addicts without Jesus.
At the end of my summer in Los Angeles, residents of Skid Row knew who I was and as I walked down “Crack Alley” would get people yelling my name and walking over to say hi (often terrifying my volunteer teams). But I knew that what they connected with in me was the Lord before it was me.
It was the most bizarre experience, but the streets I feared became a home. The people I feared became a family. On my last day, I cried and my heart broke for my new found friends, who taught me more than they’ll ever know. Toni, a regular of one of the street corners, told me on my last day, “I will pray for you. And I only pray for two people, my mother and you”.
This experience only happened because Jesus knows those streets as home and the people who sleep on them are His cherished, beloved children. I simply joined in on His journey.
My life changed because I told God no, He said go and then I went.
What does it mean to live an active spiritual life?
What has been one of the most life changing experiences you have had because you said yes to God?
What is God asking you to do today that you’re making excuses to not do?
Ok, put down the Bible and go do it!
by Ashley King