Tuesday, December 2, 2008


As a son of Sweden, my eye was caught by Vilhelm Moberg's The Emigrants, a novel of Swedish migration to this nation in the nineteenth century. He describes the landless, the debtbound, the discontented, the oppressed, confined to a centuries-old, unchanging pattern of life, hearing of a new land far away, a land opened invitingly, even temptingly, for those who longed for a freedom denied them at home. They were stirred. Eventually, one-fourth of all Swedes in the world lived not in Sweden but in America.

The emigrants knew little of the country awaiting them, but they risked everything and went. The enterprising, the bold, the courageous, the aggressive were dismissed as daredevils by some. But their groping, daring undertaking, ridiculed by the unimaginative, with every appearance of foolhardiness, gained for them a larger cultivated land than their entire homeland.

I wonder how many of us need to emigrate today. I mean, from ourselves and the lives we've been living for too long, with too little freshness, too little risk, too little thrill and way too much predictability and self-pity and unbelief and fruitless busyness. But check this out. Your life right now is usable in God's hands for new things. Jesus said to some fishermen, "Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people" (Mark 1:17).

If you are following Jesus, well, have you led anyone to Christ in 2008? You don't have to change your job, but you might have to change your purpose.

If we go into 2009 with the same purposes, the same priorities, the same schedule, the same patterns, the same circle of friends as 2008, nothing will change. But a new land of freedom and opportunity, as it were, awaits us. Let's go there. God will help us get there. But we do have to leave some things behind and make new risks a priority.

Please pray for me, that people who know me will be surprised at what they see as 2009 plays out. And I will pray for you.