I've been enjoying John Piper's series, "To Prosperity Preachers," over at his Desiring God blog. Yesterday's post, "Teach Them to Go," is particularly pointed. It is tempting for someone at my station in life to hunker down, set things up nice for my family and myself, and "nest." We Americans move to where our kids will be in good schools and where crime isn't a problem, we trick out our kitchens and entertainment centers, and generally do what we can to make home our home base.
Which is antithetical to what it means to be a follower of Jesus. His last command, you'll recall, found the last sentences of the gospel of Matthew, is to "go" . I have been told that the way it is written in the original Greek is that the command is "go," and everything riffs off of that: "go, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them . . . and teaching them . . ."
It can be easy once you move to the burbs to be completely detached from this commandment, or marginally better (or perhaps even worse?) to treat the commandment as an occasional, "check it off the list" activity, with periodic service-oriented forays into the nearest inner city or the overseas missions location of your church's choice. Here in the city, it is physically and relationally easier to have a lifestyle of "go," given the starker need and the existence of people from so many nations nearby. And yet the counter-tendency to be disobedient and to "nest" instead is great; perhaps we who have closer proximity to crime and chaos fight all the more to cleave to our own and to not venture out of our comfort zones to cross the street to cross cultures and break bread.
In short, where we live does make a difference when it comes to whether and how we heed the command to "go." But, far more importantly, it is our hearts that matter. Do they belong to the One who we call Lord and Savior, and thus when he says "go" we go? Or do they belong still to ourselves, and the call to "go" is warded off by a greater impulse to self-preserve, to comfort-seek, to build our own fortresses replete with reclining chairs and flat screen TVs and outdoor grills and stainless steel refrigerators?
As Piper points out in today's post, the Old Testament was about a physical and central place of worship and community for God's people, but the New Testament was about "go." And, with that last command of Jesus' still ringing in our ears, let us also, however we can, ourselves have a lifestyle of "go." For recall the final promise that was attached to that final command: "For I will be with you, even to the end of the age." If our hearts are His, then they believe and revel in the truth, even amidst the precariousness and danger and loneliness and struggle that can accompany a lifestyle of "go," that the fulfillment of that promise is better than any "nest" we can forge for ourselves.