When we follow Jesus, He invites us on the adventure of a lifetime.
Before following Jesus, I’d never have signed up to go into a yet-undecided nation to share about Him and His love and salvation with complete strangers… many whose language I didn’t speak.
But following Jesus gave me courage to say yes to His invitation, and I wound up in Greece for two months on my DTS outreach, sharing the gospel with some of the sweetest people – Greeks and people from many nations who’d come to Greece seeking refuge from the danger and difficulties in their own countries.
Jesus saves us and then He sends us. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His followers with an eternity-changing invitation. “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15; see also Matt. 28:19-20). Jesus invites us into His ministry, to go to those who are far from God and bring them near to Him, and He promises us His presence, the Holy Spirit, to be with us always as we go (see Acts 1:8). This invitation, known to us today as the Great Commission, has been calling generations upon generations of believers on mission to the ends of the earth… as well as to the end of the street, wherever those who are lost may be found.
After two months of partnering with Jesus in His ministry and seeing lives changed (and mine being changed in the process), I was totally unprepared for the next commission God would give me:
The Commission to Rest.
I sat in a coffee shop in Athens, sipping a Greek cappuccino dusted with cinnamon that warmed my winter-chilled hands. My outreach leader was helping me debrief the past two months of ministry and dream with God for the future.
“I feel like this is the Scripture God is giving you for the next season,” she said. The bustling café seemed silenced as I prepared for the weight of the Word to fall:
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act” (Psalm 37:5).
The Lord promises His people rest. But was I willing to receive it? Coming off a season of what looked like (and sometimes felt like) doing a lot for God, I wasn’t sure I even knew what it would look like to “dwell in the land.” That sounded like “staying put,” and I was unprepared to do that. Our outreach team was called the “Greece MOBILE Team” for crying out loud! Being on the move, eager to go wherever the Holy Spirit would lead us, was at the core of our identity as a team. Yet now, God was calling me to sit and “enjoy safe pasture.”
How fitting then that I was flying back to farmland, moving back in with my parents in a rural country town… single and unemployed… my own demographic as the only twenty-something in my parent’s church.
I felt guilty about the Commission to Rest I’d received. I felt guilty now having my own room and bathroom – instead of a dorm (and single bathroom) shared with 8 other women like during DTS. I felt guilty that God was giving me a safe pasture, that He was giving me a place to rest for a while. I felt guilty that I wasn’t so externally “dying to self” (that’s what DTS stands for, right?!). Surely I wasn’t living for Jesus if I was now living, by comparison, in the lap of luxury. (Interested in knowing what YWAM Community is like? This blog is for you: 6 Perks of Living in Community.)
But in that post-DTS season, the Lord started showing me that “befriending faithfulness” looks like delighting in the Lord and seeking to live for Him wherever you are and whatever you are doing. During DTS and on outreach, that looked like washing dishes for teammates, or lighting up the city as we prayer walked and worshiped through darkness. Back home, it looked more like loading up the dishwasher for my family, or singing along to a worship playlist and declaring God’s truth and identity over the little country town I’d now been dropped in.
Now finding myself in another new season – an office job, an apartment with a roommate, a church, and new friends – the call to befriend faithfulness still stands. A few months into it though, I sat on the floor sharing with my new small group how I was struggling to feel content in this season where it seemed like I’d be “stuck” for a while. It felt like there was no “next big thing” on the horizon to look forward to.
The next day, my friend texted me: “I read this verse this morning, and it made me think of you.” There it was, Psalm 37 again, and the invitation to “dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness,” to rest.
Just as important as being ready to go is being ready to rest when God calls us to. But the Commission to Rest, to dwell and put down roots in a place, I’m realizing, is just as challenging for me, if not more so, than God’s commission to go.
Instead of “doing,” the Lord wants “dwelling.”
He desires to refresh His children with the gift of rest (and because it’s a gift, that means no feeling guilty about receiving it!). When we’re refreshed in His presence and filled with Him, we’ll be better prepared to go when the time arrives again.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… a time to plant and a time to uproot” (Eccl. 3:1-2). Maybe this is a season to root down. Maybe it’s a season to pick up and go. Whatever the season, may it be one of rest in His unchanging presence.
Jesus, I pray that you would help me and all my brothers and sisters to rest in your presence. Help us to dwell, to put down roots wherever you have planted us for this season, and to bear fruit as we rest and grow in this land. May we be “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither” (Ps. 1:3). Thank you for your love and kindness toward us, the care you show, your provision of a place to rest and your promise to refresh us there. In your name I pray. Amen.