February 16, 2009

Parting Grace

Mark 10:17-31

“No one who has left home … for me … will fail to receive a hundred times as much.”
Mark 10:29-30


One of my most vivid childhood experiences took place in a train station. My pastor’s daughter and her husband were leaving Chicago for missionary work in Ethiopia, taking the train to the east coast, from where they would travel by ship to Africa. My parents and I joined a large group at the station, praying for them and sending them off.

I remember my pastor standing beside the train and then walking and almost running alongside it, waving good-bye as the train gathered speed, saying farewell to a daughter he would not see for five years. I was moved to see him weep openly. I have tears in my eyes now as I picture the gathering dusk, the swirling steam, the chugging pistons, and my weeping pastor.

At times, such is the cost of following God’s call. As Peter said to Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you.” Separation can be caused by disagreement, disinterest, and death. Separation can also be caused by devotion—to Christ, the gospel, and seeking the lost.

Most separation is painful. All separation takes grace—the grace of Christ who was willing to be separated from his Father so that we might be forever united with him.

As Jesus told Peter, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

God of all grace, whenever your Spirit speaks today and wherever you lead, give us the grace to count the cost, follow the call, and discover the joy in serving you. Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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