Ever been on a scavenger hunt? I haven’t been on one in a zillion years, but I clearly remember. Scavenger hunts are exciting (and frustrating), fun (and annoying), thrilling (and everything but), funny (and a pain-in-the-ahem), and, well, you get it. Because if you’ve been on a scavenger hunt, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But did you ever think of following Jesus as being like a scavenger hunt? Me neither – until about five minutes ago when I was in the shower, with a plan to scurry off to the beach, an agenda for the day (sort of), and, well – yikes! The writing about God’s Scavenger Hunt just started pouring out of me….
So here I am, Miss free-roaming, free-range, shabby chick Christian, sitting at the computer with my filthy doggie Crock shoes (used for picking up the yard), a towel around the middle of my torso, my dirty glasses propped on my nose, a towel around my head, and the words spilling out. Wouldn’t you think by now that God would give me a heads-up when He has plans for me to write? Not. So anyway, this scavenger hunt thing, well, think about it.
Why did I start thinking of this in the shower in the first place? This will give you an idea of how this writing transpired. Wow, that head towel is getting too heavy. Off it comes. Glasses and other towel still on. All ready to go. So I’m in the shower, thinking for the umpteenth time of where Walk by Faith Ministry will begin its brand new Walk by Faith Fellowship. Not like I hadn’t already “cast my cares upon the Lord” like the Bible teaches so that I would stop worrying about the location.
So you know what happened – in the shower, mind you? I had been BEGGING the Lord during my oatmeal and Bible study time a little while earlier to SPEAK TO ME – about anything. Well, little did I know He would give me the answer to my location question IN THE SHOWER of all places! I should have known. He must have thought I was tired of hearing from Him in every other part of the bathroom – the birth room for so many ideas.
At any rate, He gave me a wild answer to my location question. And then it came to me. Following Jesus is SO like a scavenger hunt. See, I (and probably you, too, if you might be anything at all like me), want THE ANSWERS. And preferably, I would like to have the ANSWERS when I would like to have them – so I can plan ahead (not that I almost ever do). So please note I said ANSWERS, not ANSWER – yeah, note the “s” at the end of the word answer.
See here’s the deal. I would like to know A, B, C, and D – and the rest of the alphabet to boot. Why? Because, for example, when I am planning a fellowship that I told people would begin in exactly seven days, well, wouldn’t it be nice to know what’s going to happen? And the funny thing is that I told people the fellowship will be LED BY THE LORD. But the idea of being led by the Lord until the fellowship begins, well, it’s been a little frustrating – to say the least.
So here’s what happened. All of a sudden, I realize I am on a scavenger hunt. No, I don’t mean JUST with this location business. I mean, following Jesus has been one big scavenger hunt. Now I know well and good that His Word (the Bible) is the Word is the Word. It is TRUTH. Period. But I also know that when it comes to my day-to-day life, that I need to make decisions on things that just aren’t spelled out as clearly as I would sometimes like in the Bible.
And the trouble with God is – hey, did I just say that? Yeah, I did. Wow. The trouble is that God and I aren’t always barking up the same tree, so to speak. He seems to think it’s okay to give me ONE INSTRUCTION AT A TIME. Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I just HAVE TO be in control of everything. Well, I used to think that way. But not anymore.
The truth of the matter is that it’s a little challenging (understatement) to be living a life and being in full-time ministry when God RARELY gives me several instructions at one time. Now compare that to all the people you know (maybe yourself?) who have the next four years mapped out, their retirement, their funeral, you know, the whole nine yards. Honey, friend, beloved, whatever you want to call yourself, I rarely have this single day planned out.
And once in a while it would be nice to know where I’m headed, right? Not. Well, I do know I am headed after Jesus, chasing after Him. And to be honest, that’s all I really need to know as long as the Bible is in my heart, and hand, and I’m living it in my life. But did you ever stop to think this following Jesus thing is so like a scavenger hunt?
Because, well, let me give you an example. In the shower, I heard God tell me where to meet for the Walk by Faith Fellowship. Wouldn’t you suppose He would tell me how long we would meet at that location, whom I should invite, what hour I should tell people we will be done, and, well, anything at all? This is what I get for telling people this would be Holy Spirit-led, right?
Now that I am the proud owner of the only piece of information being that I am to call a meeting there for one night (proud? hmm) in SEVEN DAYS, I have a vivid recollection of how this scavenger hunt thing works. See, my job is to OBEY what the Lord TELLS ME to do. Yeah, I know. You’ve heard a ton of teachings on obedience. Me, too. And I’ve even gotten to a point, praise God, where I WANT to be obedient. But here’s the deal. I’ve never heard anyone preach on GOD’S SCAVENGER HUNT.
So just in case you don’t get it, this is how it works. God tells me to do something. ONE THING ONLY. He expects me to OBEY and to do that ONE THING ONLY. He expects me to SO trust HIM (not me, and not you, mind you), that I will DO THIS ONE THING without having to do know ANYTHING else. But when I get there (assuming I obey, which I plan to do), I am supposed to be OPEN and WILLING to be given the next instruction. Note, INSTRUCTION (not always, if ever, an “s” on it). So, I get ONE more instruction.
Now have you ever been on a scavenger hunt where ALL the instructions come together? In other words, you finally find the next location – and boom, you get the entire rest of the road mapped out for you. So you just show up at the end, claim your prize, pose for your photos, handle your press conference as best you can, and take off in your clunker of a car for a big old vacation with your prize cow, pig, box of dark chocolate even your grandmother wouldn’t touch, or whatever the heck else you make off with. Well, that is NOT how it works in a scavenger hunt.
And GOD knows what He’s doing with His scavenger hunt, doesn’t He? What do you think He could possibly be up to? I don’t know, but I would imagine this. He wants MY LOVE. He wants MY TRUST. He wants MY OBEDIENCE. And HE wants THE GLORY. Wow. Isn’t that an amazing way to look at it? Yeah, so amazing, but here’s the thing.
I began this devotional by talking about the total extremes of reactions people like me (ahem, you, too?) have in the midst of a scavenger hunt. So let me give you a very concrete example. I start out totally excited for the scavenger hunt. God gives me the location for the fellowship, right? I’m excited to begin. I show up. I have to WAIT (yikes) for the next instruction. Maybe I get frustrated. Maybe not. I get the next instruction.
Do you know what happens after a while? I get tired. But then I rest. Then I get excited again. Then I’m frustrated. Do you know what I’m talking about? Yeah, a scavenger hunt, right? Well, I’m also talking about following Jesus. If you’re as human as I am, you experience a variety of emotions along the way. And sometimes those emotions have a voice, and they say, “yo, time to quit.” Or, “forget the rest. Let’s find the next instruction.” Well, you know the deal, right?
Okay, well, I’ve learned two things about God’s Scavenger Hunt that are totally amazing. First and foremost, I already know the prize. His name is JESUS CHRIST. And the prize is ETERNAL LIFE through faith in Jesus Christ and the decision and commitment to follow Him according to the Bible. And the PRIZE is the joy of being in a personal, intimate relationship with the Lord throughout the journey of following Him.
The second thing I’ve learned about God’s Scavenger Hunt is that NO MATTER what emotions I experience along the way, no matter what challenges, hurdles and obstacles arise, I need to KEEP MY EYES ON THE PRIZE.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember one single clue, nor can I remember one single prize, of any scavenger hunt I have ever been on. But I can promise you one thing. There is not a single day of my life that I am not fully, and blessedly, aware of THE PRIZE of the one I’m on now.
Father God, I can’t thank you enough for catching me off guard in the shower and pouring this message into me. And I can’t thank you enough for setting up my life, and ministry, and home, in such a way that I can run from the shower to the computer, and to the doggie yard, and back to the computer, and to the beach, and to the streets to preach the Gospel, and to the highways and byways – and, well, God. You get it. You have given me a life in which I am totally devoted to loving and serving you. Thank you, Father, for this message.
I ask you Lord to use it to convict hearts, to draw lives to you, to bring lost sheep home, to help followers of Jesus to have a deeper understanding of your call to follow Jesus, and to do anything and everything you desire.
And I ask you above all else that YOU would get every ounce of glory!
I LOVE YOU forever, dear Lord! Amen.
Php 3:12 “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”