If I told you God asked me to GIVE (not sell) away my house and all my stuff, adopt a few kids and move to a neighborhood full of sin, what would you say? Don't just send me your Christian-on-Facebook reaction, really think about it and respond.
The purpose of the post was two-fold: First, I wanted to start a conversation. Second, I wanted to see if I was the only one who thought the idea of giving away everything, adopting kids and moving was crazy.
Both purposes were met with a strong response by people who I deeply respect. The overwhelming response was, yes, you're crazy but if God really calls you to do it you better do it and we will rejoice with/for you.
The responses made me chuckle, think and pray. Here's some of my reactions to some of their responses:
Dustin Gill made me laugh when he said, "I'll take a free house."
Jan Griffey also got me laughing when she said, "I would ask you to continue the conversation."
I felt a need to pray after responses from my family members Kim Latson, Jen Kaplachinski and Liz Stoll. Leaving family behind would be one of the hardest parts of following a call like that.
One response, in particular, really got me thinking.
Becky Rassi, author of a fantastic blog, said this:
1. I'd say make sure it's God (and not Francis Chan) that asked you. Too often people make emotional decisions "in the name of God" and respond with emotion to a message God gave someone else. (even though God-decisions DO tend to have quite a bit of emotion involved.) I think if God gives Katie the same message...it may not be Francis.
B. I'd say you already live in a neighborhood of sinners. Feed them all, have them over and have them help you pack if you really are supposed to move.
R2D2. I'd say you better get to it if God said to do it...and then I'd laugh with you with at the craziness of it all - a laugh that comes from my toes, that is FULL of joy and mind-blowing awe...because I want to laugh daily at the craziness in my own life and PRAISE GOD when it's not boring, safe, and isolated.
Based on a previous post, she quickly knew this video of Francis Chan, combined with a blog post from Jon Acuff, sparked my question. And just to clarify, the question was hypothetical. I don't think God is currently asking us to do any of the above. I do feel, however, that He has been asking this of me quite often lately, "What are you willing to give up to follow me?"
Becky lays out some great guidelines for discerning whether a call is really God's voice or my emotions.
First, check with others who might be effected by the call. In this case, I would need to check with my wife Katie to see if she has heard the same call as me. If she has not seen the same blog post and video that I watched, then the chances are pretty good God is speaking to us.
Second, figure out what in your life would need to change to follow God's call. Yes, we already live in a neighborhood full of sin, and it starts in our own house. We all live among sinners because we all have sin in our lives. So, in this case, God might not be calling us OUT of our neighborhood, but INTO it. Maybe we need to get rid of our stuff and really engage in the people around us. Or, if the call is to a different place, then we better invest as much as possible into the people who live close to us while we still have time with them.
Third, don't hesitate! Get to it! If we've tested it and are convinced that this call is really from God, then GO! Before you have a chance to rationalize, count the cost, hear all the voices that will tell you you're crazy, come up with all kinds of reasons why you shouldn't do it ... JUST GO! When God calls, God provides! The safest place to be is right in the middle of God's will. It might not always be safe, as we think of safety, but it's God's safest and best place for us.
So, what am I willing to give up to follow God? What are YOU willing to give up?
Do the comforts of this world mean more to me/you than doing what God calls you to do?
Is the American Dream getting in the way of recklessly following Jesus?
Is family more important than the plan Jesus has for me/you?