Matthew 11:1 “After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.”
The KJV says that he “departed … to teach and preach in THEIR CITIES”
Chapter 10 is Jesus’ instructions to the disciples before sending them out on his mission. 10:5 “these twelve Jesus sent out …”
My bride and I serve far from home. We are called to a place thousands of miles, an ocean and continents away from our parents, children, grandchildren, not to mention friends and extended family. We serve a people here who live their lives separated from their friends and family to protect the freedom of others. But what about those we have left behind? Who will take care of them? Who will teach them? And I hear the soft reply of my Savior, “I will my child, trust me, serve me, and let me serve you.”
It is such a beautiful and immediate thing when Jesus sends them out and immediately fills the void of their presence with his teaching. Mark 10:29-31 “I tell you the truth … no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields FOR ME and THE GOSPEL 30 will fails to receive a hundred times as much in this present age … and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” Never did those words mean so much as when God called us to Germany in January of 2012.
Interesting that we sometimes read and think “where is my increase?” My first thought this morning is that the increase is directly connected to what we left behind. I didn’t have money when I left, so I’m probably not going to have money here either. We left family and friends and have 100-fold increase here. We left a ministry and we have an increase of 100-fold here. We dearly miss our sons, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, and yet, we have become “surrogate parents and grandparents” to hundreds that come through this place every year. We say “hello” and “goodbye” to so many in this ministry but that just is about increase over what we have left behind.
So then, as the Lord has sent us here … he continues to go to the places we have left behind and he fills the void with Himself. Yes, we are sacrificing for his call, but so are those we left behind. Their sacrifice of our presence is just as real. Still we have a loving Savior who goes to our cities and fills the void to overflowing. So we are not so sad when we see them doing well without us. That is just evidence of the blessing of the Savior, filling the little loss with the overflowing of his presence.
What a good good Savior.