[Dedicated to my nomadic brother, Joshua Gutteridge, for his courage and commitment to “Going”. I admire him greatly. Joshua is currently the Pastor of a church in Peoria, Illinois. For now. His status may have changed by the time this actually travels through cyber-space and posts. I’m not kidding. . . he is that fast.]
We get so entangled with where we are it can be difficult for The Lord to move us onto the next assignment. We have forgotten that at our very core, we are a nomadic people. It is in our nature to roam – we are ascended from Abraham, after all… but we will wander aimlessly about in the desert without the wise guidance and direction of God’s Holy Spirit. There is a time to wander with direction, a time to get where he points without hesitation and there is a time to settle and stay where God has brought us until He orders us to pick up our stakes and get moving again.
It’s hard to walk away from a ministry especially when we’ve been asked to settle there for so long. We’ve come to identify so strongly with a particular group of people or one place or even task – that we find ourselves finding our entire purpose, meaning and identity wrapped up in the place we now are and the tasks we’ve been doing so long. It’s hard to separate since we can no longer remember what it’s like not to be where we are doing what we’re doing. We’ve long forgotten that it was God who brought us here to begin with and we can’t even remember how He did that. We forget how much we never wanted to come here – how great of a step of Faith it truly was – the many victories and heartaches God brought us through both arriving here AND staying here. But the season has ended and yet… We’re not packed and our tents are still pitched… partly because we can’t imagine leaving, now and partly because we’ve built our own personal monuments and castles out of blood, brick and mortar around those tents. My brother sometimes lacks caution, but never conviction. And when it’s time to move on, he’s gone. Joshua’s only concern: where do you need us next, Lord? And he’s been blessed with a wife willing to support his decisions to move their family and following him wherever he feels led to go. I’ve never seen a guy that can move out of big cities so fast. It’s amazing. It’s also courageous. Leaving a place you’ve made friends and called home can’t be easy. You’re stepping away from something established and into the unknown. But he has the nomadic mindset. . . every home is always temporary. For me, personally, well. . . I just don’t do “unknown” very well. I like to know what to expect and what I’m walking into. That gives me control (or the illusion of it) over my own ministry and my calling.
If you’re not careful, your ministry will domestic you to the world you were originally brought into minister God’s Grace to. Are you still nomadic? Can you move at a moments notice if God asks you too? And if not, what are the monuments and idols keeping you tied down? Think about what might not happen if you cannot faithfully pull up stakes, pack up your tent and go. You may have arrived at your final resting place and are firmly where God needs you but understand that even if your location remains the same eventually God will bring you into a new season of responsibilities that will challenge the definition of who you think you are and what you may believe it is that you are suppose to be doing. Always be prepared to move AND be just as content to stay… whichever the case may be, know that either case will challenge your patience and faithfulness to His Perfect Will. Sometimes, staying can be just as painful as leaving. And often, it is within that pain when we finally understand how right we were to stay OR to go. Peace, SAG
1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.