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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
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

Comments (9)

  • I love your post! In every travel we do, we learn something that make us more mature and whole as a person.

  • This is profound and challenging. But I think it is way easier said than done. Being at home with a wee lad in my care, it’s hard to work out the difference between baggage and responsibility to my family.

    “A posture of perpetual readiness to heed His call, no matter what.” When I was young, free, single, devoid of responsibility to other people in the sense that my decisions didn’t really impact anyone else’s life, it was way easier. Now it is a constant game of weighing everything in the balance, its effects on the family, trying (and frequently failing) to work out the right thing to do at every turn. If I am honest, I end up back at the “want to want to” prayers.

    I don’t honestly know at times how you plough through this minefield. Sometimes God can be astonishingly silent. Or maybe it’s just that sometimes it is hard amid the noise and demands to hear His voice. Sometimes I wonder if it is okay to just be a wife and a Mama, to love my husband and son and just be someone who loves Jesus where I am. I wonder if it’s enough. In my heart, I want Him. I want all He is and has. I want to travel to the deep places with Him. I wonder what it looks like to have a life that has Him go as deep as it is possible for Him to go. Something in me wants to be that person. I’ve even asked Him for it. But I know I also run scared, afraid of what He may need to do in my life to bring me to the right place, afraid of the discipline He may need to bring, afraid of what I might lose. Sometimes I am afraid to hold His hand, not sure if I can give everything I yearn to. He means so much to me, yet I am aware of my hesitations.

    I bless you guys who have a free and ready yes in your hearts. I don’t want to miss what He has in mind for my life either. You probably all think I am crazy now! There are “right answers” to a challenge like this one, but “right answers” are not always the honest ones. Maybe I’ll just cling to that scripture that says it is God who works in you, both to will and to act according to His good purpose. Don’t think He’s done working on this heart by a long chalk yet…….

  • Unloading more and more wach day! All the things I thought were my security. House, job and stuff actually were my oppressors. Letting them go one by one has been the most freeing journey in my walk with Jesus. Now living at my parents house amoungst boxes of yet more stuff that needs to go I have this great joy and anticipation for the day. The Lord showed me a vision the other day. I was chained to large cement blocks that kept me from moving. They were on both my arms and legs. Each block had a label, house, friends, job, car, clothes etc. As I let them go Jesus was there unlocking each chain with a key. I became lighter and lighter. Thank you Jesus! I have been dragging those blocks by my self way to long!

    Friends, Joy is not found in what we own, or or job or who are friends are. I have tried them all! Joy and happiness is in Christ alone!

    I love you all,


  • “God wants to transport our spirits from our current comfort zone to a feeling of unsettledness”

    I needed permission to feel unsettled…but how long does unsettled last…and do you ever get used to it…or is that just getting back into another comfort zone?

    Do you reach “The Kingdom” here? I want to say yes…but in all honesty I am still a little confused, at times, about how far to take this…some days are better than others. If it is here, do you consider yourself or others you know to have reached it? If it is here, what does it look like, feel like etc while we live in it while our earthly bodies are still physically alive on earth?

  • Hey man thanks a lot I just wanted to encourage you that you are being led by the spirit well, the Lord has been highlighting this kind of thing for me for the past several weeks, and it’s always good to hear it again. I know I’m constantly in a place of needing the refinement of the Lord and going to Him to see just what I can’t see that’s holding me back from being able to run freely after Him. And He is faithful to keep me moving on the right path towards Him because ultimately He alone is worth leaving it all behind to follow. Thanks again.

  • Seth your words have a way of hitting me right between the eyes…in a GOOD way! Looking forward to reuniting with you both in Swaziland!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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