Casting Crowns has a song, Somewhere in the Middle, in which the chorus goes as follows:
Fearless warriors in the picket fence
Reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end
And we’re caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences
The God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for his
Or are we caught in the middle
I’ve heard this song hundreds of times before, but this morning it hit home for me. The Christian society of the United States is playing it safe. We have so much potential, so many opportunities to make a difference, but we don’t want to risk everything that we have.
In the missions field I found people who learned to live, not because they didn’t know how to before, but because they gave up everything for something more than material possessions. We have the passion inside us, it arrived when we accepted to follow Jesus and when the Holy Spirit came upon us. We have the ability to live out our faith. We are warriors because our faith has given us the strength.
But our American society has caused us to put limits on ourselves. We don’t give until it hurts, because we fear we won’t have anything left. We don’t want to give up our comforts because we enjoy them more than the unknown of following God. We surround ourselves with the Picket Fence. The retirement savings. The luxuries of life. Good food and great friends.
I’m not saying that these things are bad, but look at what Jesus taught as he walked the earth.
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. then come, follow me.”
– Matthew 19:21
“Truely I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age; homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – along with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
– Mark 12: 29-31
Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
– Matthew 8:20
Jesus sat down opposite the place where offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truely I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”
– Mark 12:41-44
And he [Jesus] told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘ This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘
“But God said to him, ‘ You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with those who store up things for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
– Luke 12:13-21
These are just some of the things that Jesus told his disciples. Go back and read the full context of these verses and find what Jesus was teaching, and is still teaching us today.
The American society seems to have forgotten what Jesus taught his disciples. We are so focused on money, on wealth, on education and comforts that we have forgotten that we are warriors. We have restricted ourselves and our faith by the way we live. God gave us fearlessness, yet we hide behind the picket fence.
We have faith, but we do not want to test it because we fear the unknown.
I have learned a lot from the men and women in the missions field that I have served with over the years. From the small group of college students that ventured into the heart of the unknown in Uganda to the men and women that I served with aboard the Africa Mercy, I learned that the only difference between them and myself and the American Christian society is the fact that they jumped in knowing that God would provide when their feet no longer reached the bottom. With them, I learned to swim.
I will leave you with a saying that someone once told me: When you step off the cliff of life and begin to tumble down, God will teach you how to fly or provide you with a soft landing. All you’ve got to do is trust in Him for everything.
God Bless and PEACE