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Travel far, travel deep

Do you like your nest, or are you a traveler? Traveling does something to you. The process of moving changes you, like it or not. G.K. Chesterton said, “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”   Kar…
By Seth Barnes
Do you like your nest, or are you a traveler? Traveling does something to you. The process of moving changes you, like it or not. G.K. Chesterton said, “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”
 
Karen and I are in a travel phase of life. These days our nest is looking a bit ragged. Orlando today, Thailand on Monday. Traveling together makes it easier. Not flying USAir makes it easier. We’ve become comfortable being unsettled.
 
In a sense, we’re all travelers. We voyage through time at what seems an ever-accelerating pace. These days, life may seem like a speedboat to many of us as we go zooming toward an unpredictable future.
 
Jesus was a traveler with an ever-changing mobile ministry that rattled his followers to the core. His presence was so disturbing that he continually had to move on to some place where he hadn’t stirred up a hornets’ nest yet. He declared that he would go from village to village bringing the kingdom until he reached his goal.* And his last words to his disciples were instructions that they begin traveling to the ends of the earth.

The process of physically moving from place to place is an apt metaphor for the way God wants to transport our spirits from our current comfort zone to a feeling of unsettledness and from there to a shimmering far country called “the Kingdom.” It’s a place where we’re only qualified for citizenship when we’ve gone traveling with Jesus. His disciple John tells us, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”** That means we become travelers.

How did Jesus walk? He traveled far, putting hundreds of miles on his odometer. And he traveled deep, pushing his followers far beyond the safety of the places they’d explored in their spirits.

When random people came to Jesus asking to sign up, his response was to check their baggage. “Are you unencumbered enough to begin traveling now?” Was the essence of his question.

When Jesus asks this, most people still struggle to answer “yes.” Jesus leaves them sitting forlornly at the station as his train pulls away. They want to go to the far country, but they can’t let loose of their baggage just yet.

We’ve become a nation of rich, young rulers addicted to comfort, my generation having missed the plot running after the chimera of a career and our children’s generation afraid of commitment. Of course there is a remnant and some of you get it. We can join Jesus the traveler even while staying home, but our posture must be one of perpetual readiness to heed his call, no matter the cost.
 
*1 John 2:6
**Luke 13:32-33
***Matt. 19:16-22

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