Sometimes it's just time to go.
It's time to move along.
It's time to get on with the next thing.
Recently our pastor preached from Matthew 14:22-36, the story of Jesus walking on the water. Now, I've heard this story hundreds of times — well maybe not hundreds, but you get my meaning. I KNOW this bible story. Jesus walks out on the water. Peter walks on water to Jesus. Peter takes his eyes from Jesus. Peter sinks. Jesus reaches to him and saves him. Yes, I got this one…. or so I thought.
Before we got too far into the message, David (that's my pastor) paused on verse 22 —
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. Matt. 14:22 (NIV)
Jesus had just taught the 5000 and he'd fed the 5000. Jesus sent his disciples away and then dismissed the crowd.
This caught me off guard. After years of hearing, reading and teaching the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 and Jesus walking on water, I somehow missed this verse. Jesus dismissed the crowd. Jesus sent them on their way.
Jesus had gone to a place to be alone — a remote place, scripture tells us, but the crowds followed. Jesus taught them and then He fed them — with only 5 loaves and 2 fish. Jesus fed the multitude. He fed them God's Holy Word and He fed them food. He met their hunger – both spiritual and physical. But then He dismissed them.
I wonder if they would have just stayed right there with Jesus. I'm sure I would. I would have sat and waited for Him to fed me again — more spiritual food and probably more physical food.
There are times we we have to go. When we need to learn to feed ourselves. We have God's Holy Word at our finger tips — and in all forms and fashions. I have the bible on my phone, Logos (my FAVORITE bible software!) on my computer and my ipad. I have a collection of Bibles on my desk. I have Bible websites I can access. I have the Word of God all around me. Sometimes I just need to DIG into it. I need to ask God to reveal Himself to me through His Word.
I spent years leading Bible study with the same group of women. We would finish one and start the next. All the blanks filled in and the questions answered. We closed the book and went on to the next study.
I'm not saying I didn't learn something from every single study. I did. But bible study became more about filling in the blanks than about digging into God's Holy Word. It was almost a race to insure I had all my blanks completed. Ridiculous, I know! But I'm just being real with you. I would read scriptures only because they were listed in my study — I just read them to complete the book. I didn't read them to learn more about my Jesus.
After years of leading this group, the Lord let me know it was time to go. I didn't want to go. I didn't like the going. I love the comfortable place we'd created. I liked the ease of our group. We'd been together for a long time. We were comfortable. But God pulled the rug and He dismissed me.
Just like He dismissed those He'd just fed — those who followed Him.
You see I'd followed Him, I'd chased after Him, but then I got comfortable. I didn't chase, I just sat. I didn't seek Him, I just filled in blanks. I didn't search His word to know Him more. I read books about Him and listened to stories others told of Him. I didn't tell others about Him. I didn't represent Him well. I just filled in blanks and watched videos.
He had to dismiss me from my comfortable place. He had to push me out, so I would seek Him more. And I did. I chased after Him and I continue to do that today. Jesus pushed me out of that comfortable place so He could teach me to fly. He wanted me to reach out to more than that one small group. He had work for me to do as a teacher, a speaker and a writer. None of which I could have ever done in that comfortable place.
I lead Bible studies again and have been for several years, but I make sure that I share the story of that girl who loved to fill in her blanks, but didn't seek God in His Word. The blanks are still there and I usually get around to them, but if I don't that's okay — as long as I'm seeking my Savior's face.
So, I'm asking you today — is Jesus telling you it's time to go — or time to let go of something?