Contrary to the Gospel

STOP. Before you read on, ask yourself what do you
desire in life? It could be a person, place, thing, lifestyle, idea but
don’t continue reading until you have an answer.

Anyone who knows me knows a few things:
1. I can’t deal with traffic. It seriously pushes my patience and reliance on God. I’m getting better at controling my actions via the Holy Spirit but let’s just be honest, I HATE traffic. By traffic I mean Hartville on a Saturday. Not necessarily a holiday weekend, just Saturday.

2. I need space and quiet. That is partially why Heidi and I don’t live in an allotment. If you do live in an allotment I have nothing against you. I just couldn’t do it. The houses are too close together. It’s too busy and too noisy. I also don’t like all the lights. Some night take a short drive (not on a Saturday, lol), park somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, and look up at the stars.
It’ll change your life.

3. I wish I lived simpler. More self sustainably and less busy. This is why I hunt. This is why I garden. This is why we have chickens and if I could we would have pigs, cows, and horses.

Ever since I was in college I have felt the allure of the West. Perhaps it’s my love of history that has drawn it out. Perhaps it’s the mountains or the “freedom of the rivers and the pines.” Perhaps it’s the
lack of traffic, the space (as 80% of the land west of the Mississippi River is owned by the US Government and not inhabited by people), or the seemingly
simpler way of life and lack of distractions that come with a different way of life. Either way, it is something that draws me. I
won’t lie – if I could, I would move west. I make comments to my mother-in-law about it all the time, lol.

NOW, don’t get me wrong I also love Hartville. I grew up here and moved back here after college. I love our church, the people here, and the familarity that comes with this great community. But honestly, the allure of the west draws me like a nail to a magnet.

So why don’t I go? Why not try packing up and moving? Two words: the gospel. The life I would want to live out west would be one of seculsion, and in many ways that life would be contrary to the Gospel.
Look at the lifestyle Jesus explained to the people who were following or wanted to follow Him 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.”

There is a dedication and a death to self that Jesus demands from his followers and potential followers. There is a relinquishing of whatever would keep you from Him, even attending the funeral and burial of one’s own Father, which seems harsh (Mark 10:17-27). But again, God demands that we lay our desires down for what he has called us to. He demands that we follow him without hesitation and without expecting to get what we want as a result. Is this how we are living? Have you laid down whatever it is you desire most or are you trying to manage navigating the seas of your own wants and God’s call? Trust me, you will find no judgement from me as I battle my own death to self. However, we must begin to openly speak to others in a real way about real things. This is real. Find someone this week and be real with them.