Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What about that five yoke of oxen?


Nevertheless, I am continually with You;
    You hold my right hand.
You guide me with Your counsel
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. Psalm 73:24-25

Lord our God, in the grace of Jesus Christ we pray to You that Your will may be done for us and for all the world. Through Jesus Christ grant us faith that You love us, faith that we may live in Your love, that we may hope in Your love every day and have peace on earth, where there is so much unrest and trouble.

Keep us firm and constant, remaining in Your peace and in the inner quiet You give us because Jesus Christ has overcome the world. He has truly overcome, and this fills us with joy. We praise you, Almighty God, that You have sent Jesus Christ and that He has overcome the world. We praise You that He has overcome all evil, sin, and death, and that we may rejoice at all times in your presence. Amen.

Wow. And I thought teachers had it rough. The average classroom teacher will make more than 3,000 non-trivial decisions every school day. In an average 6-hour school day, that's more than 8 decisions every minute (Danielson, 1996).

But I feel like standing in front of a horde of restless fourteen-year-olds is a cakewalk compared to this particular moment in time.

It could have something to do with that I am living in direct disobedience to Jesus… He warned those who dropped their nets to follow Him not to look back, not to look at their just-purchased field, not to try out their just-purchased five yoke of oxen, not to say farewell to the family. Just drop and walk.

But I am trying to maneuver the glancing backward while plowing stuff, packing up household after household, rolling things tightly into book-taped boxes and loading up black Hefty bags into the truck to drop off at Arizona Baptist Children’s Ministry and Tucson Refugee Ministry and even sometime the Goodwill shop just down the street…my classroom…Heather and Dustin…my momma…Nicole…the massive art project of silks, fur and leather heaped all around and me. Decision after decision, as I hold yet another Mama Gert pink lamp in my hand and wonder what the heck I should do with it. And dad’s gleaming wooden desk? And the piano where he used to sit and play from the worn red Great Hymns of Faith? How many perfectly good professional sweaters should one fold up into storage? What about a barely used Costco bottle of shampoo? At least I had no problem deciding what to do with the 87% cacao dark chocolate bar Sage gave me to nibble while I graded research papers and final Civics exams.

I cannot even begin to say with how much joy I look forward to living out of a single black backpack that will fit as a Pegasus air carry-on, one hand baggage of 20 cm x 40 cm x 55 cm, with maximum weight of 8kg.

Jesus knew what He was talking about.

And the headlines blare once again, “Food illness strikes hundreds in Iraq for displaced,” and there is an Associated Press photo of two little kids laying on the ground hooked up to IVs, just forty miles from the school I will be teaching at in three weeks. 

Jesus knew what He was talking about.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Heather’s blog shared the same bit of wisdom. That’s what pilgrimages do, peel away life to truth: Just take the plunge! These aren’t life altering decisions and you probably won’t miss the 10€ extra a year from now – but you might remember arguing in the plazaola over which pintxos to eat.

Jesus knew what He was talking about.


Be of good cheer, for I have overcome.