M and D are leading for a 2nd year in EA. They were at the 05 training but not last summer. The week of Thanksgiving, they saw 6 new guys trust Christ. They held a number of outreaches at which 9 disciples either helped out or shared their testimonies. One of which was D’s disciples, Snapdragon. I will get back to her later.
We all know that following Jesus means taking up our cross and denying ourselves. It’s recorded in the gospels several times and even is mentioned once as a prerequisite to be considered worthy by Him. But sometimes the cost seems bigger than what we bargained for.
In Luke 18, we read of Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler. After hearing Jesus challenge this guy, Peter goes, “Hey wait a minute [my embellishment], we have left all we had to follow you!" When I read this it’s like he suddenly has a flashback to his business, boats, nets, and fish he left by the seashore 13 chapters ago. It’s about this time in the year in the stormin’ cycle of cultural adjustment and as holidays approach that we or others on our teams start saying, ‘wait a minute…’
I was reading what M posted on his blog yesterday: "The power was out for 11 hours today- no internet, no TV, no heat- and its cold... and it goes out once a week. I just finished hanging my clothes to dry. When they dry they'll be hard and may not smell that good. And quite frankly I have gotten tired of the food. I feel like I eat the same thing every single day- and it's because I do. I try to think of something new to order, but it's the same thing. I am longing for a good burger... or at least McDonald's or Arby's or Taco Bell or Pizza Hut ( my roommate said he'd kill for a Pizza Hut). It's still hard to communicate sometimes- though sharing the gospel in another language with the taxi driver this evening was fun. But seriously, will I ever learn this language? I see a character and think I should know it, but I have no clue. I feel I study a list of 40 words for ten hours a week and remember 4 of them. I'm living an adventure, something I never thought I would do when I was younger; something I dreamed about when I got a little older... truly God uses the weak things, the foolish things of this world. Even with all the [hassle], it is well worth it!"
M's comments are so common - though maybe not all of us have come around to the well-worth-it stage. Our 'sacrifices' seems so insignificant when we read about our dear 19-year-old sister in Christ who has been walking with God for just over a year. Snapdragon has left all to follow Him. Her friends make fun of her. Because she would not give up her faith in Christ and come home, her own mother made her sign a legal document divorcing her parents, saying now they only have one daughter, her younger sister. Crushed, broken and hurting, she wept wondering if she would be alone forever and what to do next.
D called on her friends and supporters to fast and pray for Snaps. A few days later she woke up and said she wouldn’t live for them anymore, but work hard for herself and for God, to honor Him, not to just make these people happy or like her. Snaps said, "My ideas are changing every day. I think it is because too much, I mean so many people are praying for me to walk with Him even though my life is so hard."
Jesus responded to Peter’s wait-a-minute comment by laying out the full benefit package. I'll use Mark's account since he adds persecution to the mix which seems appropriate after reading about Snaps. "I tell you the truth 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—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life."
May you experience hundred-fold blessings this Christmas season! Together lets lift up Snapdragon and young believers like her around the globe who have left all to be counted worthy of Him.