On the Move

Lou Lotz

Read: Luke 12:13-21

I will tear down my barns and build larger ones. (v. 18)

A US Marine called my attention to something I had never thought about. He noted that while the US Army is stationed in forts—Fort Benning, Fort Bragg, and so on—the US Marines are stationed in camps—Camp Lejeune, Camp Pendleton. A fort is stationary. A camp suggests mobility. “Marines are always on the move,” he said.

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus is always on the move. In Luke, Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem takes up nine chapters—that’s more than a third of the entire book. In Mark, the Lord’s journey to Jerusalem takes up one chapter. In Matthew, the journey takes two chapters, and in John, three. But in Luke, Jesus is always on the move.

In light of Jesus’ movement toward Jerusalem, it is ironic that churches have tended to value settledness. Churches crave permanence: bricks and mortar, long-term pastorates, venerable traditions. Like the foolish, greedy man in the parable, we crave bigger barns, more permanent structures.

I am not suggesting that churches sell their buildings and meet in tents. Traditions are not without value, and long-term pastorates are usually a good thing. But I am suggesting that faith is a journey, and going on a journey means that you end up in a different place than where you started. Jesus’ frequent invitation to “follow me” implies that God’s people are going somewhere. What would the church look like, I wonder, if we were less settled, more mobile. —Lou Lotz

Prayer: Lord, wherever you are going, I want to go with you.