I have the great honor and blessing of coming from a family of saints. My parents and siblings still attend church to this day. Like any family in this fallen world, we’ve had our bumps and none of us are perfect. Many of us have done things that I’m sure the most moral of non-believers would balk at. Thankfully Christ didn’t come for the healthy but for the sick (Luke 5:31), and even families of saints fall under the category of “sick.” There are sick people everywhere (Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Rom 3:23). Vermont is encompassed under that “everywhere.”
So it is where I come from. Currently, in my season of life, my family and I have been called to our Gospel-parched area in the Pacific Northwest and didn’t have to move from our hometowns in the process. We have the blessing of being near at least some of our blood-family. The calling of God does strange things in a person’s life. I speak from experience. I feel I have it strangely cushy here. I have family and friends nearby. I feel extremely blessed in what I’m paid. I have a place to live in. I have a great community to live in as it is where some people come for a real remote and wild retreat. It’s not full of tourist traps, but it’s not full of city either.
Our Lord says in His call to discipleship:
"And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (MARK 8:34-37, ESV)
This explains to me - at times - my feelings. To know how good I really have it, but to desire to leave it all for the call of Christ because there I feel I might find true life. For reasons I need not divulge here, I have equally felt this passage apply to my needing to stay here. Like Abraham, perhaps I have heard the promise, but am now in between Genesis 12 and 21, between the revelation of God’s call to Abram, and a physical sign of that call through Isaac. I don’t know. I wish I knew more about Abram’s life, and what, “The Lord said to Abram,” (Gen 12:1) sounded and looked like.
Perhaps you know exactly what that looks like and it’s why you’re here looking at a blog on a ministry-website that is planting churches for “sick” people in Vermont. Maybe God, in His Sovereignty, is calling His “seventy” to go to Vermont and you’re part of the “seventy”. Yet, the above passage about leaving all, forsaking all, forsaking our own attempts to save our lives for the sake of Him stings all too much.
I wonder if it’s opposite for you. For me I have a burning desire to leave all the goodness I have and head out into the uncharted to do what I feel God might be calling me though it be scary, and forsaking my great cushy life here... but equally know it’s not my time. Whereas you know it’s your time, but like me, you have it nice, clean and cushy, and the cost is too high. Yet God is calling you. You’re like that rich young ruler who thinks everything you do should be enough, but in fact you’re convicted, because God wants more.
“God, I go to church. I provide for my family. I’m discipling great kids. I’m tithing regularly. I’m in my Bible daily. I’m praying.”
Know this, you’re not on God’s black, naughty list if you haven’t accepted the entire call of discipleship, the laying everything down part. Jesus looked at the rich young ruler and loved Him (Mark 10:21). He loved Him enough to tell Him the truth, “You lack one thing.” It’s not that God wants to play games with you. It’s not that God wants to deprive You of all security to see you squirm. Oh, but dear friend, what awaits you is hundredfold. “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:29-31)
I love that Jesus is honest. He doesn’t leave out “persecutions.” He knows that it’ll be hard for you to get from your home to where God is calling you. But I love that Jesus says He builds His home in us (cf. John 15:4), we are His temple, and I love that those who do His will are His blood-family (Mark 3:34-35). You might have it well where you’re at. Yet when you head out into the fields for harvest and become part of God’s plan to save the world in such an active way, such a faith-building way… You gain a hundredfold where it counts. You gain God’s family. You gain a hundredfold, “now,” says Jesus, “in this time.”
Kevin Davis is pastor of a small rural church in another Gospel-parched part of the continent, the Pacific Northwest. He is humbly blessed by his wife Christy, his son Calvin, and their two dogs Rocket and Tess, and his gracious congregation.