It is always the same experience, or very close. After Jessie and I are done speaking at an event, there are one or two people who hang around until everyone else has gone home, and they sort of fidget with their hands a bit, and you can see all over them that they want to say something.
They shuffle a little closer in towards where we are packing up.
“God told me to sell everything and__________”
I can almost hear the painful sting as those haunting words pass over their lips.
The problem is I never know how to respond, I feel unqualified to speak into someone’s life just a few moments after getting to know them.
Today, after several months of praying about it, and thinking it through, I am realizing that actually I do have something to say to anyone who feels that they are called to more.
I offer this post for everyone who feels that God has called them to “sell everything and_______”, but I must warn you, I am not handing out anything remotely close to a Three-Step program for following Christ the easy way.
This gig is tough!
Get on with it!
Yep, you read that right, that there is my simple answer to anyone who has the gnawing feeling that God is calling them to more. Here are the reasons why;
1. White picket fences are overrated.
Security isn’t real, all of it is an illusion that we created to make us feel safe, the truth is this; If God wants us to stay safe He will keep us safe, and if He wants us to struggle, than struggle we will, no matter what kind of security blankets we have built around our perfect little pretend lives.
I should know, I once owned a 30 million dollar business, bought the most expensive house in our city, and had millions in the bank. Only to watch it all slip away from my grip in mere months. Security is an illusion.
Let me put it another way. God gave us this gift: Life. Then He comes along and asks for it back and like defiant little children we stomp our feet and we scream.
Then we saunter off and try to create something better than what He planned for us, because we think we can do a better job than He can. We think He is going to ask us to do something “unsafe” and we make believe that we are in control.
The only thing we gain by staying safe is the surety that we will do any real good in this world while we are here.
2. The world needs more missionaries.
No, I am not only talking about people who move overseas, (maybe your mission field is right here in front of you) What I am saying here is that all of us Christians need to start seeing ourselves as ready-to-go “missionaries” of God’s, who aren’t holding back anything from Him.
The world needs more people who see their stuff as expendable, and their life as a valuable gift that we give back to Him out of thankfulness.
Many of us are scared that He will ask us to “sell everything” but the truth is He already did.
Luke 12:33 spells it out just as plainly as possible.
“Sell you possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.”
I can already hear the creaking and groaning of the Ikea chairs as many of you squirm out there, wondering if maybe Levi went of the deep end here.
Am I a saying that we need to go list everything we own on Craigslist?
Yes and no.
Maybe we don’t need to physically get rid of everything that we own, but we need to start living as though it were all worthless.
And if something that we own is more valuable to us than He is, than we should get rid of it.
Yes it hurts, but there is another side to the pain as well.
“And He said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack, or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.””
And there it is, the flip side of selling everything, we will in turn lack, “nothing”.!!! I could go on and on with the exclamation points here!
3. The Black Hole.
The conversation goes all over the map when it comes to the “why nots”, for some it is the fear of family, what might they say, or think about such a crazy move. For others it is the fear of failure. For others it is more about the technical aspects of what it is that they might do once they jump.
Either way, we must not get stuck in this place, when we feel the call, our first reaction needs to be to bury ourselves deep into Him, and keep moving forward.
This is the season that I call The Black Hole, because so-so many get stuck here and never go another step.
I pray for you if you are here today, not because I see myself as above you, but because I have spent many years in this place and I feel your pain, I often return here.
My punch card is full from so many Black Hole visits.
4. How many times have you heard this saying? “Some of us need to stay behind and support the missionaries.”
Don’t even try to hide it, you yourself have used that very same line. We all have.
The problem is when we get so comfortable in this place of “sending” that we forget that we ourselves are “sent” as well.
If you truly feel that God has placed on your life that you are one of the people who is called to “send” than I feel bad for you. Not because you are going to miss out on the “adventures”, but because I have known people who really did take up the call to support, and I have to tell you, God just keeps pushing them to the limits.
Thankfully there is a flip side to this one as well. You can’t out-give God! It’s true, you can’t do it, but you surely will find yourselves in some very uncomfortable places when you try.
5. God loves Him some danger.
And we better just get used to it going in, and stop pretending that just because something looks dangerous that it must not be from God. In-fact I think the opposite is true. When you feel that God is showing you an area of need that looks way to big for you to handle, that likely means you are on the right path.
Yes it’s messy, yes it’s going to cost more than you have, but it’s also right where He wants you to be, and so if I can encourage you just a little bit today, let me tell you this. Go for it! Jump off that cliff, and stop holding onto the picket fences in your life. They are only going to hold you back, and stop you from living the life that He wants for you, the one that is 100 times better than you could have ever dreamed!
But don’t think I am going all Joel Osteen on you here, I am saying that once we let Him, He will teach us to enjoy seeing others blessed so much, that we are nothing but happy in our own lives.
6. Yep, it’s Him talking to you.
I think we all get stuck in the place of wondering if we are hearing from Him or not. The last thing any of us wants to be is the guy who sold everything because “God” told us to, only to later realize that He wasn’t telling us anything of the sort.
I can tell you a few bits of advice that have worked well for us over the years when it comes to hearing his voice.
Seek council. God will always put good people around you who can speak into your life. Call them up and ask for their advice, but also be ready to go outside your normal circle sometimes. For instance, If you go to a hyper conservative church and you are going to ask them about the Tattoo ministry that God is calling you to start.. You are likely to get the idea shot down. Just be wise when seeking out advice. Find people you trust, who have shown that they themselves are willing to do whatever God asks of them.
Read your Bible! Jesus was one dangerous-out in left field dude when He walked the streets of our world here, you will be energized to step out when you read what He has to say. But don’t use the Bible like a Ouija board, opening up and pointing to scripture is not going to get you anywhere. You gotta dig deep, and understand what it is that you are reading.
Lastly, look at your motives. What is it that could be driving you to feel this way, is there something that you are running from? Is there a pattern in your life that you can call out when you look at your choices objectively? Once we onderstand our selves we can then discern what part of what we are hearing is coming from our own desires, and what part is truly Him speaking to us.
Just go! God is calling you, so there is no worry about having to discern if that part is real. It is! The questions are when, where and how.
Before I go I just want to say one more thing, I am by no means an expert on the topic of cliff jumping for Him, I fail hard all over the road on these issues, and my aim wanders from where it should be more often than I care to admit, but one thing I can say with absolute authority is this, everyone of us should hold nothing back from the one who created us!
It is what we were intended for.
Anyone have any cliff jumping stories they want to share? Or are you in the black hole right now and want others to pray for you? The comments are a great place for us to work together and encourage each other, so lets get this conversation started!