Luke 9: 59-60
I was recently teaching a Sunday school class of mostly senior citizens from my upcoming book, "From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone." I was encouraging them to take risks for the kingdom of God as called upon by Jesus.
Now this seems like an unlikely group to take risks. But the message of Jesus is that we need to take risks regardless of age and stage of life.
It's always easy to find a reason (or an excuse?) to avoid taking a risk and engaging in a new activity for Christ. This is true for parents of young children. It's true for someone heavily invested in their job. It's true for a person who has retired and wants to reap the benefits of their life's work. There's always a way to say no to Jesus' call to take a leap of faith for his kingdom.
And yet, Jesus continues to urge us. Check out Jesus' response to this man in Luke 9: 59-60.
He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Jesus sounds pretty harsh, but he is not telling the man to skip his father's funeral. This exchange is better understood as the man feeling an obligation to his still-living father and postponing his followership of Jesus until a future time after his father has passed away. Jesus sees through this excuse and isn't buying it. The time is now, in Jesus' view, to take a risk and proclaim the kingdom of God.
I've encountered many people who have said, "Yes, now is the time," and answered the command of the Holy Spirit to serve in a new way. Here are a couple of them.
In his midtwenties, Corey felt a call to teach a young adult Sunday school class. At the same moment, I was trying to step away from teaching a young adult class that I had led for three years, as I felt a new calling. Somehow, the Spirit brought Corey and me together, and he eventually took over as the lead teacher while I moved on. Corey stepped out in faith, pursuing a call, and the Holy Spirit made it happen.
In her midseventies, Aeolia felt a stirring when she learned that the high school Sunday school class in her rural church had lost its teacher, and no one was stepping in to fill the gap. A widow, she heard an unlikely call to teach the high schoolers. That's how I came to deeply know this dedicated Christian woman during my junior and senior years. Aeolia became one of my spiritual mothers; her influence still informs my ministry today.
As for that class I recently taught? In closing, one man said, "I'm impressed that you have convinced this group of older people to take risks and try something new." They had learned that Jesus is pushing us to be kingdom risktakers, at any age and at any stage.
"From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone: How Jesus Urges Us to Take Leaps of Faith for His Kingdom" is now available for presale on my website. In the book, I walk through a dozen Gospel stories of Jesus challenging people to do something new for his sake outside of their comfort zones. Please watch the trailer video at CecilTaylorMinistries.com/from-comfort-zone-to-trust-zone, and see the pricing at Store.CecilTaylorMinistries.com.