I felt awkward standing there way too long in the meat department staring at a nice cut of lamb. It had been marked down 50% so it was a good deal. I knew exactly what it would taste like coming off the grill because I’ve had it plenty of times before. This was the first time though that I hadn’t just thrown it into my basket and kept on walking. Now it’s way out of our budget. I was kind of embarrassed and I stood there letting that sink in real good. I had always felt self-sufficient and I liked to splurge on some things. God was at work in the grocery store. Numbness crept over me as questions like, “Am I a bad husband? A poor dad? Can I provide for my family?” went through my head. Jesus responded with, “Am I sufficient for you Jon? Will you keep following me? Will you let me change your lifestyle so that I can change you?” I’m pretty sure the butcher didn’t realize God was giving me an altar call right there….asking me to start surrendering social status and creature comforts I had unknowingly worshiped for so long so I could grow closer to Him. The families we are working with in Southeast would be buying bologna instead of steak. I set my little idol back in the cooler and walked away. God is showing me how much of a hold materialism has in my life and moving backwards on the economic scale has caused me to be more reliant on Him and more joyful too!
This coming Saturday, December 1, the Laughinghouse family moves to Southeast Roanoke! We are pretty excited. The renovation process on our old house has been going on for several months and we are ready to finally be living there. The house is actually not even finished yet. We are still missing trim, kitchen countertops, closet doors, and stuff like that, but it is livable so we are going to go ahead and make the move and work on things as the Lord provides. In so many areas God is changing our priorities. He is prying our fingers off the things we are accustomed to and showing us that all we need is Him. As a bonus, this whole process is helping us to relate better to the people we are going there to minister to.
Later on, after the grocery store, I was reading Luke 9 and came across a fellow who was telling Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Then Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Jesus knew this guy struggled with materialism, like I do, because He tells him up front that being a disciple will mean a radical change of lifestyle. It could mean he won’t have a nice house to live in. It could mean he won’t live near his family. It means that to see more of the Kingdom he will have to learn how to let go of this earthly kingdom. The Bible doesn’t tell us what this guy decides to do. Maybe that is so I can put myself into the story and ask the question, “How far will I follow Jesus?” Pray for Kristi and I as we continue to struggle with this. We are nowhere close to being finished. We also know that the small amounts we are giving up pale in comparison to what our brothers and sisters around the world sacrifice every day for the opportunity to proclaim the gospel.
The path of discipleship looks different for all of us. Jesus has a way though, of calling us to let go of things that cause us to rely on ourselves and our stuff more than Him. He might ask us to let go of friends, a career path, reputation, hobbies, comfort, pride, or a host of other things. The main thing is for us to seek His Kingdom first. This passage from Matthew 6 has been helpful to me.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Email Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org