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The Passion, The Privilege

Deuteronomy 12:5-7
“But you shall seek the place that the LORD your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. There you shall go, and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present. … And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice.”

Megan and I used a USDA loan to buy our first home about five years ago in the rural town of Angier, North Carolina, right before the birth of our little girl, and though we’re extremely grateful to have a home at all in this economy, the weekly commute to our church in Cary has become a somewhat daunting affair, especially with young kids in tote whose favorite travel pastime is finding new ways to argue. We could easily just become members at one of the many Bible-teaching churches up the road from us, but God has clearly called us to serve in ministry at The Shepherds Church, forty minutes away, so we can either continue to obey Him and make the trek or disregard Him for the sake of convenience.

It strikes me that when God eventually establishes His tabernacle at Shiloh, some members of this congregation will laud the convenience of His chosen location. Some will be able to look out their front window and see the Tabernacle up the road. Some will live within walking distance, and they’ll never need to sweat over travel expenditure. But others won’t have it so easy. Others won’t be too keen on God’s decision. They’ll have to travel miles and miles, with children and livestock, spending hours on the road, turning what should’ve been a morning of worship into a weekend ordeal, and they may even stop making the trek altogether due to the inconvenience of God’s will.

But just think, friend: how far was it from heaven’s throne to that manger on the outskirts of Bethlehem? How arduous was that divine commute we call Incarnation?! Next time we start complaining about long commutes and tiring worship services and tedious ministries, let’s first be grateful that there’s a place at all in our darkening society where we can worship the LORD in sacred community, and then let’s remember that the travail of our little pilgrimages is nothing in comparison to His Passion.