Stay Where You Are!
In all of the talk about doing great things for God, going as He told us to, and traveling the journey our Leader has laid out for us, I was reminded today that sometimes we need to stay right where we are.
Mark 5 records the amazing story of the demonized man of the Gerasenes. It is here that Jesus cast the legion of demons into the large herd of swine. As a result, 2000 pigs drowned themselves in the Sea of Galilee, huge crowds of people assembled to beg Jesus to leave, and a man never seen sane sat chatting with Jesus, now in his right mind. What a day!
As Jesus submitted to the people’s request–stepping into the boat to go away–the reborn man begged that Jesus would let him come along. As I think of this, several things come to mind:
- It would have been so much easier for the man to leave all of those behind that he had terrized for years. Call it a fresh start.
- It would have been very kind of Jesus to let the man follow along. After all, what a great testimony he could share at all of the large gatherings!
- It might have been safer for the healed man to start over some other place. Consider how many people had dispised this person for years. That doesn’t change over night. Think only of the people affected by this day’s events — 2000 swine are now dead and the economic impact on these small communities would have been significant. This man could be easily blamed.
BUT, Jesus isn’t most concerned about easier, kinder, or safer. He’s concerned about loving God, loving people, and growing the Kingdom. That’s why Jesus tells this healed man, “Stay right where you are.” If he really wanted to be a missionary, stay. If he intended to make a great contribution to the Kingdom of God, stay. If he was going to make his life count the greatest, stay.
We sometimes get the idea that going somewhere is the best way to serve. It seems more glamorous, more prestigious, more noble. However, for most of us, staying is exactly what we’re supposed to do. We are often (dare I say, “most of the time”) called to stay.
Be intentional, like the man in this story, to let your life, words, actions, transformation, and love for Jesus impact the people right where you live. Stay where you are!