He took him at his word, and left...

What do a potential missionary and the royal official in John 4 have in common?

In John 4 we read about a royal official who came to Jesus, begging him to come and heal his son who was close to dying. Instead of coming with him and healing his son, he just said, “You can go, your son will live.”

And this royal official simply “took Jesus at his word and left.”

Conventional wisdom would say that the father of the dying child was acting foolishly. People would have seen or heard that Jesus healed people by touching them. That’s just how it was done. He should have persisted, should have brought Jesus right to his house and secured the opportunity to have him put his hand on his son.

Instead, the royal official just left and walked away towards his son’s impending death. He had literally nothing to go on except for Jesus’ word that he will be ok.

Those wanting to leave their normal life and pursue a life of making Jesus know among the unreached face a similar challenge of faith.

Conventional wisdom says that you can’t just give up all these important things in life and expect everything to turn out ok. Everyone has to work really hard to secure things for their future. You can’t just walk away and expect them to be taken care of for you. I mean really, who’s ever seen that happen!?

“You need to have a paycheck to make sure you can provide for yourself and your family. How will you pay the bills? How will you save for retirement? Think about your future.”

“What if this doesn’t work out and you have to come back home? What do you have to ‘fall back on’. How will you make a living?”

“So-and-so is such a good man/woman of God. And you’re not getting any younger. If you walk away now how will you ever find someone to marry? Do you want to be a weird old lonely person??”

“You don’t have lots of ministry experience and haven’t even led anyone to Christ. What makes you think you sure you can just go over there and expect those people from a different religion to believe?”

“If you leave, who will take care of the people around you, who will reach them? Don’t you see that God needs you to be a light right here?”

“You have such an effective ministry in your home church here. Can’t you see that this is a very valuable gifting that you need to steward?”

“I heard that when people go overseas to these dark places, they can easily slip into heresy, and even teach others incorrect things. Shouldn’t you stay home and get more schooling, at least a masters in theology perhaps?”

“You get such joy from your current profession. This is who God’s made you to be, and he gives you satisfaction in your work. Won’t you shrivel up and die without it?”

Walking away from these things with no foreseeable guarantee for the future is kind of like the royal official walking away from the healer and just going back to his helpless, dying son. It seems irresponsible. It seems crazy.

But Jesus still tells us that we can go, we can let go, and we live and be ok.

“I tell you the truth … no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields (think sources of income/investments) for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age … and in the age to come, eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30

“Whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:35

We can take Jesus at his word, and leave.

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