Wednesday night before last I sat in a storytelling training session with IMB missionary Stephen Stringer. We learned to tell the story of the rich young ruler. We chose that story because it speaks to our affinity group, middle class wealthy achievers in Williamson County.
Jesus says to the young man, "Sell everything you have, take the money and give it to the poor." And the young man walked away sad, because he was not willing to.
Those were powerfully ringing in my heart last weekend as I watched Matt sell everything he has, and as we unloaded our closets and cabinets, along with friends and family, to have a huge garage sale for him. It was not sad to part with any of that stuff, because of what we were working toward. But it was convicting to watch strangers show up in the dark with trailers to buy all that stuff and haul it home. Such a contrast: they were acquiring, loading, hoarding, as we were all divesting, unloading, giving away.
I looked in Matt's room last Tuesday and there was all he has left: two crates with t-shirts, pants, shoes, socks, books all rolled up and packed, a back pack, a computer, a guitar. Nothing else. He was camped out here in the room he grew up as a boy, and this weekend he was sleeping on an air mattress in London at Matt & Jamie Hoppe's. Tomorrow, when he arrives in Cape Town, he'll be camping out in a room at the Team House until he finds a home of his own. And he's perfectly happy.
I came across these words in Luke 9:
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
Matt was lying on the floor of my study the day before he left and I read him that Luke passage. Then I told him the rich young ruler story. But I stopped at vs. 27, where Jesus says it is impossible to do eternal things without God, but with God all things are possible. Matt took my Bible from me and read verses 28-30:
"Those are my motivational verses," he said.
We are not looking back. We are not sad. We are ready for his adventure to begin. Matt is so ready to go. He is all in.
As I watch what God is doing in my son, I know He is beginning something in me. He is teaching me how to live the next part of my adventure, which includes two other sons who are having adventures of their own. There will be more giving up, letting go, stepping out. There will be more change, every one a challenge to trust and follow into the future God has for all of us, a future we can never dare to ask or imagine. I could beg to stay right here, but I would miss it all.
Thank you, Matt, for blazing a trail of faith. As you follow Jesus into your adventure, I am coming right behind.
Follow Matt on his big adventure and read his story about how it began. And pray for us!