I sometimes wonder if the two most dangerous words for the Kingdom of God aren’t:
- “I want to give to you disciples,” Annanias said, “…but I need to hold some back for myself.”
- “I want to promote racial reconciliation in the church, but I need a place that meets my needs in worship.”
- “Yes I would spend the night with the homeless at Room in the Inn, but I need my sleep.”
- “Of course I support public education, but I need my kids to get the best education that they can get, so we are sending them to private schools.”
There once was a man who came to Jesus and said that he was ready to follow in his footsteps. “Yes, I’m ready to follow you Jesus,” the man said, “but I need to go bury my father first. Then I will follow you.”
Jesus’ reply wasn’t very understanding or gracious. Yes, Jesus often worked to meet the needs of others, but when it came to those who would follow him, those personal needs became less important.
“When I send you out,” Jesus told his disciples, “don’t take anything you need with you. Take what you’ve got on hand with you and trust that God will provide the rest.”
The church will never be a place of radical hospitality and embrace until those who would follow Jesus are willing to cast aside their needs to follow Jesus where and whenever he goes. That may mean that we become part of and stick with a community that doesn’t fully meet our needs in the knowledge that our presence has the ability to transform that community. That may mean that we sacrifice our needs for control of our lives so that God’s kingdom might be revealed.