And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came he was there alone.Matthew 14:23
I was recently walking in the forest preserve near the church. I like to get out there, out in God’s creation. And usually all by myself, no one around me except the occasional walker or a bike rider.
It’s relaxing, it’s beautiful out there, and I can listen for God‘s direction in my life. That’s why I go. To hear from God.
I pray. And I listen for where it is God is going to be leading me in the next days or weeks or months ahead.
This is nothing new. Jesus often went off by himself. Away from the crowds. To talk to His Father, to relax, to find rest. But He never stayed there. He always went back to the crowds. Because that was the reason He came. To be with the people, to interact with the people, to save the people.
It has long been a dream of mine to have a house out in the country away from the things of man.
To get away from the crowds, from the noise, the traffic, the trains. Could be a cottage in the mountains or a home by the seashore or lake house. And it still is somewhat of a dream of my wife and I to get away from the noise and the hustle and bustle of life.
But we have come to realize that getting away from things is not our calling. Yes, it’s great to get away and to rest and to relax. But God calls us to share the Gospel, to proclaim the good news of Jesus to people. So, we must go where the people are.
It’s kind of altered our dream a little bit, our dream house. Instead of a nice, big house out the middle of nowhere, we would like just a regular-sized house but big enough where we could have people come over. Where we could have people gather together so that we can talk about Jesus, learn more about Jesus in a small group setting.
Because that is what God has called us to do. In fact, that is what God has called all of us to do. I don’t mean its wrong to dream for a house or dream of a house away from things. What I mean is that God is calling us to go out into the world to where the people are to share the Good News of Jesus.
That’s the calling of the church. We are called in the church to go out into the world. Yes, we come into God’s house for the strengthening of our faith in word in sacrament. But we also go out to where the people are. To have those conversations that lead us to share Jesus and His Gospel with other people.
Recently, I have been blessed to have learned about, and now lead in the sharing of, being a witness of the Gospel using the approach from Everyone His Witness.
And I invite you to find a church that can lead you in this resource. You can learn about this at St. Matthew where I serve as associate pastor. We have a workshop coming up at the end of October. Email me or call the church office and you can reserve your spot. It’s a free event, with a free lunch! It begins at 9 AM and lasts till 4 o’clock. We’ll then have time to have an informal discussion and then will be able to worship together that evening at St. Matthew.
I hope you’ll find out more and live out your calling to go where the people are and be Jesus’ witness!
Heavenly Father, help me to live my calling to be a witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray for those taking part of the upcoming Everyone His Witness workshop at St. Matthew. Bless them as they learn about sharing their faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.