Joseph and Mary are arriving in Bethlehem–Mary very expectant and ready to have a child any day. As everything would have it, they came to Bethlehem because the Roman government forced them to travel to their home city to be counted in the census and to pay their taxes (I’m so glad we can pay ours online now!)…….it was a long hard journey and when they arrived–there was no place for them to stay.
In 2003 I felt called to be a Pastor. It was a five year journey that I began to embark on. At the time I was making good money in the corporate world. In 2008 I was ordained and consequently, when I left my job in the corporate world, I took a 15K pay cut. I gotta say, it certaily took my wife and I out of our comfort zone! The key is though, that my wife and I, throughout the process of change, never let our faith wain in our God who walked beside us on his journey.
It is important to understand that doing God’s will (this was God’s will in the life of Joseph and Mary) often takes us out of our comfort zones. Jesus’ life began in poverty. Later, in His ministry, He would stress to his disciples what it meant to have no place to even lay one’s head….to be homeless (Luke 9:58). When we do God’s will we are not guaranteed comfortable lives. But we are promised that everything, even our discomfort, has meaning in God’s plan.
When we have a relationship with God, indeed, with Jesus……we will be able to discern His will in our lives for it involves listening to His still small voice in our heart and always seeking to do what is right….not necessarily what we think would simply benefit us. When we do these things….we live in God’s will.
Luke 1:4-5 (TNIV)
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
Luke 9:58 (TNIV)
Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
As my wife and I embarked onto this path in ministry, Jesus has been beside us each step of the way. No, it hasn’t always been easy and it has actually taken us many times out of our comfort zones. The truth is, our future will have it’s tough moments and we will again be taken out of our comfort zone at times. The KEY is to recognize that Jesus is walking with us and leading the way!
As we approach the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus……my prayer is that we recognize that often our path is a tough path but–but it is a path in which we have this great helper, Jesus, indeed the Holy Spirit, to guide us, to comfort us, and to lead us. That path always leads to ultimate fulfillment and an eternity with the Father. All we have to do is follow Jesus and seek to live in His will.