I originally sat down to write this blog about my recent trip to Katakwi. However, as I was reading a book by David Platt tonight on my taxi ride home, I came across a section that has really got me thinking. The truth is that the entire book has me thinking and is awesome (and I’d type it all on this blog but that may not be legal so I’ll just encourage you to purchase it), as are his sermons so I thought it appropriate to share this and the update on Katakwi will have to come later.
Platt asks this question, “Do we believe the reward found in Jesus is worth the risk of following him?” He then goes through Matthew 10 and lists the risks that Jesus said we would encounter if we did follow him. Matthew 10:8 says, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” Jesus is telling his disciples about the kind of people they would be among: the sick, the dying and the diseased. Jesus goes on to say in verse 16, “I am sending you out as sheep among wolves.” Clearly danger was added to the list of what the disciples could expect. Lastly, Matthew 10: 22-23, “All men will hate you because of me… when you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.” Jesus said when, not if.
So there you have it: the sick, the dying, the diseased, danger and persecution. I am onboard with going to the sick, the diseased and the dying. I am not sure about how I feel about danger. And I’m definitely not in love with the idea of being persecuted. With that said, I want a faith in which I would do whatever it takes. I want a faith that is so confident of the reward found in Jesus that I knew it was worth the risk at any cost.
It’s funny because on hard days when I think about going home, I think about how much easier things would be. I think about the support of my family and friends, ease of living (hot water, washing machines, street signs) and as of lately the food. But as it turns out, whether it is here or Chicago, the message of Matthew 10 does not say go to the comfortable places with healthy, safe, loving people. Jesus says to bring the gospel to the nations and he tells us what to expect when we do so. Shoot.
As it stands in Uganda, we are free to preach the Word of Christ without worry of danger and persecution but what about the unreached people who live in countries where being a Christian gets you killed? I kind of want to say that I’ll trust others to go there but if I’m honest, and Platt does a great job reminding us of this in the book, we don’t have that freedom. The Bible tells us to go and to be prepared for how hard it will be. But the Bible also tells us of the great reward for doing so. As you keep reading Matthew 10 verse 39 says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” So I pray for a faith that leads wherever God commands, be it Mongolia, Indonesia, Somalia or Chicago (although I hope there’s coffee wherever I go).
I’ll end with one more quote from Platt’s book, “This is the unavoidable conclusion of Matthew 10. To everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable life free from danger, stay away from Jesus.”
But to that I say, I don’t want to stay away from Jesus.