Monday, June 16, 2014

A call to survive (Matthew 10:23)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 10:23 (TM) – larger reading Matthew 10:16-23
It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors! Before you've run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived.

David L. McKenna tells this story: "One of the aboriginal tribes of the South Seas has a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood called a "walkabout." A boy coming to puberty is sent into the jungle for six weeks without food, shelter or weapons. During this time, he must test all of the survival skills he has learned during childhood. He must also be creative when he meets the unexpected. Talk about final examination! One mistake and he is dead. If, however, he survives to walk out of the jungle, he returns to a celebration that honors him as a man, a hunter and a warrior".

Boy, I’m glad that I grew up in Miami and not as a member of the aboriginal tribe of the South Seas. Aren’t you? Based on what I know about myself I wouldn’t have survived one day let alone six weeks. I’m wondering if that is what Jesus had in mind when he told his followers to be survivors?

It can be brutal to live in this world. It can even be worse to try to survive in the church. Philip Yancey in his marvelous book, What’s So Amazing About Grace?, speaks at one point of ungrace – that which can be experienced among fellow Christians. Ouch! But in reality we have all been there. There is nothing meaner than a self-righteous individual whose soul purpose is to make sure everyone else tows the line. Am I right or am I right?

I much prefer the stories from some of the Native American tribes concerning the right of passage. These are stories of young braves being sent out into the woods to survival through the night. Dark shadows would fall. The coyotes would howl. The bears would roam. Unknown to the young brave, standing in the shadows was his father ever watching to make sure he stays safe.  That kind of survival I can understand. The other… forget about it!

Jesus talks about survival and I imagine the Holy Spirit stands watching to make sure that we do. Is it tough? You bet. Is it scary? Beyond anything that we can imagine. Is it worth it? Oh, my yes… but we won’t know until we go down that trail.


Help us to become survivors. Help us to become more than mere survivors, help us become triumphant warriors of the Kingdom!

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