S.O.S Devotional: “Laying down the... Whistle” 11/10/2020
I feel like there is no better time then now to share this, and while I believe it’s truly for someone out there, it’s also greatly for me. I write this to be honest with you all and myself. That this year has been extremely difficult, extremely confusing and extremely great all at the same time.
I’m hoping we’ve all learned that it’s been extremely difficult because we’ve all been asked to crucify our normal, comfortable, routine lives. In some way we’ve all had to lay something down in the year 2020 that has been so greatly difficult. For me it’s been this fast-paced lifestyle that I find wraps me up so often in selfishness and directs my focus on such unimportant and unimpressive things in the eyes of the Lord. I’ve learned to slow down and consider others more and more. I’ve realized that I don’t want them to see a Christ-follower focused solely on my opinion but rather a Christian follower who does love. More than anything (and I know I’m not alone) I’ve had to confront that normal, routine, and comfortable life I was living pre-Covid 19. For the sake of this outlet being officiating focused, I am going to talk about the decision of laying down the whistle.
I told you I’d be honest, so I must also say that this crazy year really brought so many awesome things as well. I’ve gotten to enjoy our sweet baby girl and embrace all the new opportunities to do ministry. It even brought a time of great personal understanding and health as our family really focused on spiritual self-care. We’ve traveled more then we did pre-COVID (safely, and with others in mind at all times) and we’ve gotten more quality time with loved ones then we ever imagined. Life really hasn’t been bad, just very different. But when things turn out better then expected, the challenge becomes, “what changes do I take moving back into ‘pre-COVID normal.’” How do I keep some of the amazing things that COVID brought forth personally? So I needed to wrestle with each aspect of pre-covid life and contemplate whether it’s beneficial to the life God has purposed for me in this season. Hence why I wrestled with laying down the whistle.
In Mark 10 we see Jesus confronted by the rich young ruler. Now I’m not rich one bit, at least in the financial sense. Quite frankly we struggle more often then not, but wealth isn’t the focus in this confrontation, just like COVID shouldn’t be the focus of this season for you. Instead, what we see being confronted is a sense of identity that this young ruler has created for Himself. Rightfully so, as Jesus is said to have loved him (vs 21). This young man has honestly made sure to do all the things he was told to as a God-fearing Jew up to Jesus’ arrival. But in his love for this man and because when He (Jesus) comes into our lives things get confronted and things need to change, so Jesus addresses the thing that this young ruler has left to find his identity in, his riches. Jesus of course tells him to sell off all his possessions and give them to the poor (vs21) and the man leaves sad (vs22) because he was what I’m guessing, “Elon Musk rich.”
I like the way Bob Goff frames this story in his book “Love Does” when he illustrates what Jesus is really asking this young ruler to do: play a game of Bigger and Better. To keep it short and to the point, Jesus isn’t asking the ruler to sacrifice this without return. He’s saying if you lay it (what ever you find your identity in) down I have something bigger. For this man Jesus is promising more treasures in heaven. For some of us it might be the same as this rich young man, his wealth, but more so it’s whatever gives you pride and meaning in this life.
So back to us in COVID Era 2020, and what God might be asking you to lay down in order to trade up. For some of us, and we all have to ask this question and consider it prayerfully, we need to ask, “do I need to lay down the whistle?” Is God asking you for a trade? Is he confronting you to ask yourself does this consume me and all my thoughts? Does it create so much pride in me, that my identity is wrapped up in this? Does this serve me, or does it serve the Lord? For some it might be their life’s addiction as they pursue and desire prestige and status. Some may think this is too extreme. However, it just may be that the benefits of laying down the whistle for a season or for good far outweighs the benefits of remaining. Regardless, all that maters is pursuing Gods will for your life, not yours.
It also seems so important to write this not just to encourage you to consider the possibility but to encourage you if you did make the decision to lay down your whistle. I want you to know I, and Team S.O.S, are proud of you. We support you. While we want to hear your story as well, just know we get it. We want you to know that all your service to the game has been impactful and needed. That your presence was important and sure you will be missed, but we believe that whatever God is calling you to do is going to be perfect. I believe, as Jesus said that, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, who will not receive a hundred times more” (vs 29-30).
The point of this is that I want you to do what God is willing for your life. If you are already then I want you to be an encourager of somebody who is trying to make that decision! Things changed in 2020 and a lot of it for your good, so what will you do as things begin to mellow out? Are you going to go back to the way you were or are you going to remain in the new strength and faith that grew inside you from all of this? Are you going to hold on to those lessons God taught you or will you let them drift away?
We Love You.