Leave your country

Many Zimbabweans have left their country. You do not leave your country unless you have a reason. Either you are pushed out by fear or economic hardship or you are pulled out by education or work attractions. Whatever the reason, it is deeply unsettling to move to a new place where you know few people, the customs are different, the food is strange and the climate hostile.

Abraham was called to do it and it must have been even tougher in those days especially as he set out “without knowing where he was going” (Heb 11:8). But his migration had a purpose. This was not immediately obvious, but it became clear in time. God wanted to prepare one nation, out of all those on the planet, to receive his Son. This nation would be formed, moulded, for this purpose.

They would follow a whole set of laws which set them apart from the nations “round about.” They would be tutored by God through a succession of judges, kings and prophets. The new nation did not do very well – but they had moments of brilliance in which they followed the laws, attended the temple worship and revered the sacred songs and texts the prophets wrote for them.

When the moment of decision arrived, most of them failed but there was a remnant of people who were ready and recognised the coming of the Messiah. Simeon was one of these and he held the child in his arms and rejoiced “to see the salvation of the nations and glory of your people Israel” (Luke 2:32). But all this was just the inauguration of greater things which were to come.

Jesus himself set standards that were to sort out the sheep from the goats. If people were to follow him in more than words and formalities they had to make a decision. They had to “leave their country and set out for a land I will show you.” This is a huge challenge to us and we may easily miss it. Lent is a good time to take a hard look and see how we are doing.

To “leave one’s country” is to leave for ever the comfortable talk, the well-known paths and the easy relationships I am used to. It is to look at the way I do things and ask, “Am I really engaging with my contemporaries and building something new? Or am I just waiting for other people to do the work for me?” Jesus shook up the disciples by showing himself to them in glory and revealing to them his coming passion, death and resurrection.

They hadn’t a clue what he was on about but they soon learned. And, what is more, they learned so well that they followed him along his path and suffered the same pains and the same glory.

Post published in: Faith
  1. Amen

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