Dust in my eyes
While talking recently with Arthur Blessitt on the phone, we found ourselves talking about different ways we get distracted, and how difficult the journey can be at times, in both life and in faith. He has so many amazing stories of where his journey has taken him.
While carrying a cross around the world, and in walking almost 40,000 miles in 40 years he has been in every situation you can think of including jungles, deserts and war zones. He is truly a humble servant of Jesus just doing what God has asked him to do. If you haven’t heard his story, you can visit his website at www.arthurblessitt.com, or come hear him speak live at Living Hope during all services on the weekend of April 14th and 15th.
Arthur went on to tell me story after story of how while carrying the cross he would have moments of feeling lonely, and times while walking in a desert, there would be so much sand and dust in his eyes he could barely see to keep walking. Following Jesus is intrinsically tied to “dust in our eyes” moments. Arthur’s story touched my heart in a profound way. It made me realize that so often I get tired in following Jesus, or disappointed when something doesn’t turn out like I thought it would, or could. I get dust in my eyes.
Jesus asks all of us to carry the cross. Luke 9:23 says, “Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” Jesus was extremely clear about these three things. Look again at the text above. He uses the word “must”. We must, turn from selfish ways, we must pick up our cross daily, and we must follow Him.
Following starts with a decision to do what Jesus says. How many of us allow the pain or the problem or ‘the dust’ to stop us from doing what God is asking us to do? Dust always makes me frustrated and in frustration I want to quit. It is simply that I can’t see God or what He has for me, I can only see the dust. Problems and pain are always like that; they became so big in our eyes that we can’t see past them to what God is asking. When my problems are all I can see, I get selfish about my time and my resources. Jesus said we must turn from our selfish ways. Don’t let the dust distract you from the purpose and call on your life.
What does it mean to “take up your cross daily”? For Arthur it was carrying a literal cross around the world. For Jesus it was becoming sin for all of us. Not just dying for sin, but becoming sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us…”
I am learning so much in our RECONCILED series. Just what the Gospel is, and how it is the power of the Gospel (not religion) that will radically transform our lives. Crosses are personal, inevitable and temporal. When I had cancer it was personal, but also temporal. Paul said “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21. He experienced many years of pain, suffering, being beaten and being jailed, but he didn’t let the dust in his eyes stop him. He followed Jesus on his mission was to tell everyone about God’s incredible grace.
Arthur told me that he could have given up at any point, but whether it was mosquitoes, or a war zone, or being jailed over 20 times, it was always just dust in his eyes. I asked him, “How did you keep going through so many miles and unexpected ‘dust’”? and he said “Pastor, I could focus on the dust or follow Jesus to the next one person that needed to hear about His love.” That one sentence changed my life and has truly helped me to see above and beyond the ‘dust’.
One more verse that has been on my heart that I will share this weekend is found also in 2 Corinthians “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
What is ‘seen’ is sometimes just dust, but we have to focus on is what really matters for eternity. What is eternal? Jesus is eternal, God’s Word is eternal, and Heaven (or hell) is eternal. People are eternal. Sometimes I miss this because of the dust. In fact, so often I allow the dust to steal my God given destiny. I allow an angry email, or Michelle being sick for months, or budget issues, or so many things that matter to slow me down from what REALLY MATTERS. Bottom line, all that really matters is the next one person who needs to hear about the love of Jesus and the grace of God. The unspeakable, undeniable and unchangeable grace of God.
This weekend we will talk about having dust in our eyes. We will learn how we can live at the place where we look less at the dust in our eyes and more to what is eternal, and what matters to God. Next time you find yourself struggling to see through the dust, please pause to see beyond the dust to the person in front of you. You and I will never lock eyes with a person that won’t spend eternity somewhere. Clearing the dust out of my eyes this week,