Many years ago, I had a conversation with my good friend, Jim Matthias. Jim is a pastor and church planter who has travelled around the country pastoring and planting churches. I remember that he made this comment: "Dave, you and I aren't settlers; we're pioneers." What do you think of that? Are you a settler or a pioneer? Today, let's consider a passage which has been important to me for the past fifty years, and maybe, it will encourage you, as well.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring; the rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. (Psalm 84:5-7)
When I surrendered my life to Jesus in 1971, I was already a church member and had been for my entire life. I wasn't interested in becoming more religious; I suddenly wanted to join Jesus on His journey. From then on, I determined I would stay with Him, no matter where He might lead me. Over the years, Pam and I have begun things that worked and begun things that I thought didn't work...but God was always working something into us. We've taken risks and had adventures with Jesus because we wanted to live out our lives in His Presence. In today's passage, the psalmist says, "Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage." It has been a blessing to be on this pilgrimage with God. My heart is set on the journey, wherever it leads. Then the psalmist continues saying, "As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring." The Valley of Baca is translated the Valley of Tears. Have you ever been in a Valley of Tears? The psalmist tells us that when our hearts are set on pilgrimage, God will turn the Valley of Tears into a spring of water to nourish and refresh us. How about you today? Have you settled down or are you still eager to join Jesus on His journey?
Let me encourage you today to be intentional about following Jesus, even if He is going somewhere you don't particularly want to go. After all, going where you don't want to go when you're traveling with Jesus is far better than going anywhere else without Him...and that's such very Good News!