I was not left here to wander aimlessly through life, but rather to serve in the movement of Jesus. Jesus offers rescue from the things which enslave us. We are the messengers and ambassadors of his rescue, saved from our slavery into the service to our fellow wanderers.
29 But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. 30 That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians…
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The Israelites were freed from something (slavery to Egypt) but not immediately to something new (the promised land). They wandered through the desert and faced many tests and learnings along the way. I heard this on Sunday at church and it struck me that our experience as Christians is somehow similar yet at the same time completely different from the children of Israel.
It’s true that we have a promised land awaiting us: heaven is our final destination. It will be our forever home. And we aren’t there yet. But it’s not because God can’t get us there today. God has the power to bring forward the end of this world and the establishment of the next world today. He won’t though.
When I was rescued from my slavery to sin as an 18 year old, God did not take me to heaven. He didn’t take me to glory and set me up on a cloud or on a street of gold. He left me on the earth. Why? He has work for me to do here.
Unlike the Israelites, I was not left to wander, but rather to minister – to serve – to be a slave to the movement of Jesus instead of the cause of sin and evil which had my heart before.
In this service, and to the glory of God, Jesus’ kingdom has come and his will is being done. On earth. As it is in heaven. Without reaching heaven. Like the Israelites, we have not reached the promised land. Unlike the Israelites, however, we are bringing the promised land to where we are.
The Spirit is with us, as Jesus promised, to fill us and teach us and lead us as we care for those with whom we walk today. Call it our wandering. As we wander this earth, we wander with many people who do not know God or his ways. They are not destined for the promised land unless they receive the Kingdom of God into their lives. Jesus offers them rescue from the things which enslave them. We are the messengers and ambassadors of that rescue.
We are saved from our slavery into the service to our fellow wanderers. Will we take them the promised land? Will we give them enough of a taste of the kingdom that they will welcome Jesus into their lives?