When Obedience Requires You to Risk it All
If I had an Iraqi Dina for every person that asked me whether I was taking a big risk by moving my family to Kurdistan, I would probably be close to raising all our start-up costs. In all honesty, it's a very important question to ask and was something that Sarah & I had spent a lot of time considering and praying about before we decided to go.
No parent wants to put their children in harms way, and I'm all too aware of the great sacrifice my wife is making in leaving her family & friends and the many comforts of life in New York. But ultimately, as followers of Jesus, there was just no way around the personal cost that every one of us is required to make in order to be obedient to His teachings. One such passage that comes to mind is found in Luke 14:
“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? ...So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."
With Jesus, there was never a middle road, it was always all or nothing. To follow him while He was on the earth in some cases meant selling all your possessions and giving to the poor, to others it meant relinquishing loyalty to family when it conflicted with loyalty to Him. In today's creature comfort culture the challenge remains the same. Within every one of us is the innate desire to pursue safety, security and success. Our decisions seem guided by the risks involved to these self-preserving outcomes.
I'll never forget the words that my Pastor shared with me when discussing our decision to move to Iraq. After making sure that we had "counted the cost" and were convinced we were being obedient to the call of God, he leaned over and said, "the Kingdom of God will never advance as long as Christians live only to preserve themselves." With these words ringing in my ear, I thought of my family & friends that I love so dearly and honestly said to God, "they are yours, I am willing to do whatever it takes to see your Kingdom come on earth, just as it is in heaven."
Consider the discourse between Lucy & Susan and Mr & Mrs Beaver in the book by C.S. Lewis, "The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe"...
"Is - is he a man?" asked Lucy
"Aslan a man!" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion, the Lion, the great Lion."
"Ooh," said Susan, "I thought he was a man. Is he - quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."
"That you will, dearie, and make no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver; "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."
"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the king I tell you."
What is it that you are holding on to so tightly that's stoping you from following Jesus? The journey may not be safe, He never said it would be, but the joy and the rewards are matchless. He is Good and the life He leads us on is never boring, but instead it's an abundant life, full of adventure. Will you answer His call? Just don't forget to count the cost, because it's all or nothing.
Tim & Sarah Buxton