Author | Steve
Three weeks ago I resigned my job…without another job lined up. It wasn’t just a job, it was (and still very much is) my calling. I have been a pastor for almost twelve years; worked in the church since 1995. It was one of the scariest leaps I’ve ever made in my life because it wasn’t a leap I was making alone. Five other people were jumping right behind me. Five people I love dearly. We’ll talk more about how God brought us to that jumping as this journey unfolds I’m sure. But for now, I want to share something interesting about the leaving process.
Every new adventure starts with a leaving. You have to leave something to go to the new. At the core of my faith is a daily leaving: leaving behind the lies I believe about myself and the world around me, leaving behind my rebellion against my Creator and Lord, leaving behind my shame and guilt, and instead, being led into a new song, a resurrection life fueled by my resurrected Jesus. What I hadn’t realized was just how much of my life was about clinging to old things. Beautiful, meaningful old things.
When Jamie and I very clearly heard God calling us to this time of waiting on Him before going to the next thing, we also heard Him clearly calling us to lighten our load. At first I thought He was just inviting us to take some time off, to be refreshed by Him, to give us a renewed energy for His gospel mission in the world. I still believe He has these things in mind, but His lightening is a bit bigger than mine.
After much time in prayer and in His Word together, it was becoming obvious that God was calling us to give away much of what we had accumulated over the years. Cleaning out my closet was a little embarrassing. I had way more than one person needs. But, this was easy. It was the important stuff that was hard: a piece of art I made in college, a miniature canoe that was the groomsmen’s gift from my buddy’s wedding (sorry Mike), a beer stein from another good friend’s trip to Germany, my Martin Luther bobble-head from my ordination! These ebenezers told stories, marked anniversaries, and pictured enduring relationships. How could I ever part with these?
Then it dawned on me, all of the people who gave me these were in themselves, gifts from God. And in almost every case, I was still in touch with them (except for the occasional one who is resting in the Lord awaiting Jesus’ return in glory). Suddenly, these valuable items became a way for me to tell my current friends how much they mean to me. Each meaningful piece blossomed into a new story as I gave it away to my Katy, Texas friends – the people I served alongside for just two short years.
My joy was multiplied as God lightened my load! I never would have expected it. The math doesn’t work, but I guarantee it’s what He did!
We’re still trying to lighten our load down to what fits in our Suburban and a trailer. It has not been easy. I’m convinced Jesus is using our life as a tangible metaphor – like He did with Jeremiah. Our lives get so weighed down with so much – some of it downright evil, some of it beautiful and meaningful – but in either case, weight that causes us to stop moving. To stop trusting. Now don’t get me wrong, physical markers of important events and relationships are awesome! But over time, these very important things can weigh us down, and keep us from seeing God at work in our present day. (Don’t believe me? Read 2 Kings 18:4.)
For most of us its pretty easy to think of throwing out the crap in our lives, even if its difficult to actually do. But what are the “good things” that have become weights that keep you from answering God’s call on your life? Be careful here. Don’t do this alone. And don’t be careful either – be courageous to trust God when He wants to lighten your load. It will be a freaking scary and amazingly beautiful thing!