Oh go take a hike!

Going.  It seems that’s been on my mind lately.  I’m writing a devotional series for a non-profit that has to do with the Great Commission based on the words of Jesus and his last words to his disciples. As Jesus was surrounded by 11 devoted men,  I find it interesting that some of them were so quick to deny Jesus yet when he came back to say He was going to His Father in heaven, they all showed up to see Him off.  

“…but some doubted.” Matthew 28:17

Ever wonder how you doubt God?  When you don’t believe that He has a plan for you.

Jesus knew their doubt and charged them with their mission anyway.  “He came to them and said TO them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  ~ Matthew 28:18-20

There is something about Jesus words to me that gets me “going”.  It is as if when I read this passage I am hearing His “Go!” all over again.  In my mind this charge implies a movement  that is a bigger something than I can wrap my mind around.  There is something about going with like-minded companions.  I like to travel, but I enjoy traveling with someone who thinks like me.   Ask anyone of who has been missions.   They will tell you there is much to learn along the way, at the back of the bus, and then even more to learn once on unknown ground.  There is something about traveling with someone whose company you enjoy.

There is something about going to unknown places with people you trust.

Two days ago I experienced for the first time a 3 mile hike at 11,000 feet of elevation in the Rocky Mountains.  I wasn’t afraid to set out.  My guide had the trail all marked out.  I had a steady hand ahead of me and a steady rear guard behind me.  I had some supplies for water in my backpack, a small amount of trail mix in case I got the hungries for needed a shot of energy, and enough gumption to think I could do it.  I was all lathered up with sunscreen so my white skin wouldn’t scorch and I remembered my hiking boots.  I was as prepared as a first timer could be.

I left no room for doubt that would talk me out of going.

Even though I felt prepared, I didn’t worry about the trail itself.  It was well marked and cleared.  Many had gone before us and many will go after we had been there.  I was set up to succeed.  The point is, I had never been on a hike before nor knew the intensity of it.  But because I trusted my guide, I had no fear.  Because of my preparation for the hike, I wasn’t worried about how I was equipped to handle any unknowns.  I was prepared to a point that I knew that I could handle whatever came along, and I wasn’t hiking alone.  

In Matthew 25, when the disciples heard the “Go!” charge from Jesus, I find it interesting that the men set out immediately to do just that.  There was no hesitation in their action at least it seems from the outside.  It was if they were already prepared to dispense with a purpose.  Do you think Jesus told them step by step what they should do?  Do you think that they had a checklist about what missions looked like?  Do you think they spent hours wringing their hands pouring over a map trying to decide which way to go first?

No, I think they just “knew” where to go and what to do because of the trust they had in their Guide.  I think that there was no need for any committees to plan their agendas and decide who was bringing what.  I don’t think they stewed about whether they were ready or not.  I don’t think they worried about how they were going to eat or where they were going to lay their heads.  I think they just knew their purpose, who to talk to, and what to do when they got to their destination.    They had the comfort of knowing they could handle the journey.  

Even though some of them doubted, they didn’t leave room for it in their actions.

When you hear “Go!” what hits your mind first?  The disciples just went.  They reached, they preached, they influenced.  They  started.  And they didn’t go alone.  They were equipped along the way, and they trusted their Guide.   They had no fear in the going.  What they did hold on to kept them going for the long haul.  Their calling kept them reminded of the journey.  Their mission was their need and they kept ahold of the promise tucked inside of the charge.  

They had the promise of Jesus saying they wouldn’t be alone.

I find this compelling that they knew the presence of Jesus burning in their hearts as a passion for their “going”.  Their passion for sharing compelled them to “Go!”, they trusted the Leader that had equipped them so well.  That same Jesus that equipped a small band of brothers, is still alive today and ready to be your travel companion too.  Whether it’s your neighbor or international land that your Guide is leading you to, make sure you don’t “go” alone.  

And leave your doubt for the haters.  In building the kingdom, there’s no room for doubt when Jesus has already told you what to do.

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