“And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority… These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'” Matthew 10:1,5-6
“Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him. But Peter explained it to them… ‘The voice from heaven [said], “What God has made clean do not call common…” If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” Acts 11:1-2,4,9,17
When we are headed one way in life, in the path at that time obedient, with a set of directions, expectations, what-has-always-been, it is hard to change tack. But as a lusty wind requires a sailboat to ‘come about’ in order to stay on course, so in our lives, sometimes God requires a change of direction, and makes His demands when we least expect it. This He did for Peter, initially called to minister distinctly to the Jews, and now, after Jesus’ death and resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit, dramatically redirected to include the formerly “unclean, common” Gentiles. Surely, God had no preference, only strategy in seasons of time. He gave Peter a jarring, clear vision, which he at first resisted, citing his commitment to his religious vows and to Jesus’ specific earlier call. The sovereign Master persisted, and Peter obeyed, trusting the divine Messenger, Who orchestrated events to confirm this new direction.
Consider Abraham, when called to “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” He not only had to change direction from all he had ever known, but to leave behind some people and things he loved. We can imagine he, like Peter, was criticized, but he followed God’s voice in faith, setting up altars to worship and seek God’s further direction each place he landed. It is vital we keep our ears open to God’s voice, and guard against getting so ingrained in “our way,” or so attached to our things and comforts, that we fail to hear and heed the new instruction, or even have any desire to do so. (Genesis 12:1,6-9; Hebrews 11:8-10)
What new thing from God might my busyness or complacency be preventing me from experiencing? Do I, even subconsciously, put in earplugs of fear, preference, prejudice, love of ease, stubborn resolve, to shut out a call to be stretched, taught, maybe made uncomfortable by almighty God? If every day is a gift from Him, to be spent for Him, then He can be trusted to be in charge. It is a privilege to be included in His kingdom work, but it requires my cooperation and willingness to change tack at His bidding.
Lord, You are the Master of doing new things, and have authority to call me to set aside what lies behind and press on with You to new ministry, relationships, and opportunity ahead. Keep me unencumbered, eagerly listening and willing to go at Your command. (Isaiah 43:19; Philippians 3:13-14)