And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
So here we are again, about to do the one thing we said we weren’t going to do. In two months we will be back in Michigan, and as usual, “this will be our last move”. Which is what we said about our last two moves. This one is different in that it will take most if not all of our remaining resources to do it, meaning the only way we could move again would be in a couple of suitcases or the back of a hearse.
We’ve always had good reasons for moving, so we thought. This one makes more sense than many of the others. We are returning to encourage a church that is struggling and hurting, because we love them and understand struggling and hurting, having done a little ourselves. It is also an opportunity to go back to a place we know and love.
Moving brings about reminisces on the previous times we’ve done this (rapidly reaching too many to count). As we seek understanding of the thought process and rationale behind each move (especially the long-distance ones), most fall into the ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’ category, and it’s difficult to see how God may have had a hand in it. The usual feeling when we left was we made little difference while we were there, and leaving felt like a retreat from a bad idea.
Rita’s and my underlying desire has always been the same: to serve God in whatever capacity we can. The mistake we sometimes made was thinking we weren’t where we should be, so we weren’t effective servants. Thankfully, with age has come more insight and the realization we don’t really know how much impact we may have had in the places we’ve been. That’s one of the greatest blessings God can bestow on those of us who struggle with being ‘living sacrifices.’
In retrospect, I think we gained an understanding of Jesus’ command in Matthew 28 quoted above. The proper wording should be more along the lines of “as you are going, make disciples.” Our desire was to serve Christ and the church wherever we were, and we somehow managed to do that, no matter how poorly sometimes. With the realization comes acknowledgment we can’t take any credit for it; only God could have produced such results.
Rita and I have been nomads throughout our forty years together. Most consider us a little crazy, which we would not dispute. We would also be the first to tell you we don’t always know all the reasons we pick up and move from time to time. Often the reason we thought we were going wasn’t the most important one. Phillip might have felt the same way when the Lord pulled him out of a successful ministry and sent him to the desert to meet one man in a chariot, and then immediately carried him off somewhere else. Sometimes you don’t ask questions, you just go.
God shows throughout Scripture He is willing to get the desired results through imperfect people, and we fall squarely into that category. God desires our hearts for His purposes and will honor those who give it to Him freely and fully. I can’t explain the restlessness that stirs in us periodically, other than to suggest it comes from looking for a home we’ll never reach here on earth. In this case, it comes from a heart aching for our spiritual family and an opportunity to help, if in no other way than to hurt with them and provide some comfort. If God is able to accomplish His purposes through us, it will be to His glory and a joy to us in being able to serve.
We look forward to the time when we will finally finish traveling, will be at home with those we have met and loved as we traveled, and will be in the presence of the One who sustained us throughout our journey.