A farmer had lived on the same farm all his life. He’d been born and raised there and had received the farm as an inheritance when his parents had died. It was a good farm, but the farmer had begun to think that maybe he’d like to stretch his wings a bit and try living somewhere new. This prompted him to contact a real estate agent and request that the agent come out to the farm and meet with him.
The agent came and said, “So, you’re thinking about selling your farm?” The farmer answered, “Yep, I think it’s about time I tried my luck somewhere else. I used to love living here, but lately I’ve started wondering what I’m missing out on in other places.” The agent said, “I understand. Let’s go into the kitchen and sit down at the table. You can tell me all about the place and I’ll write up a description to run as an advertisement.”
As the two men sat there at the kitchen table, the farmer began his description. “This farm has 100 acres,” he said. “The soil will grow just about anything — corn, potatoes, beans, or whatever else I think I can sell. The barn is in good shape. It’s got a fresh coat of paint on it from last year and the roof was replaced about three years ago. There’s a John Deere tractor sitting in there that goes with the place. I bought that tractor nine or ten years ago but it still runs like a charm. There’s some livestock that go with the sale, too. I’ve got about twenty head of cattle, three good horses, and a milk cow.”
The farmer continued. “This farm house is about 2,200 square feet. It’s got three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs and another bedroom and bathroom downstairs. I had to buy a new cooking stove about five years ago and a new refrigerator about a year ago. The roof is solid and I’ve got a well out back I’ve seen hold up during the worst droughts. Oh, and about water, did I mention that there is a creek that runs along the southern boundary of the farm? That creek is just choked full of trout. I take a day off every now and then and go fishing. I catch myself a mess of fish and have a big ole’ fish fry.”
As the farmer relayed all this information, the real estate agent wrote furiously. Finally, the agent said, “Okay, here’s a rough draft of what I’ll run.” He then read over what he had written. As the farmer sat there listening, the agent could tell by the man’s facial expression that the advertisement was having an effect. He thought, “I’m going to make a nice commission on this place.” Once he finished, however, he learned just what effect the advertisement was having. The farmer said, “Hold everything! I’ve changed my mind about selling. I’ve been dreaming about a place like that all my life.”
The Bible is filled with stories in which God’s people move to new locations. Sometimes these moves are the consequences of sin. Under this category, we can file the stories of Adam and Eve being forced to leave Eden and the people of Judah being deported to Babylon. Other times, however, the moves are simply the outcome of God’s will being done. Under this category, we can file the stories of Abraham moving from Ur to Canaan and Philip moving from his ministry in Samaria to Gaza, where he evangelized the Ethiopian eunuch. Sometimes the moves are even God’s deliverance. Think about Israel’s great exodus out of Egypt, for example.
My point is that God’s will must be discerned regarding each potential move. It isn’t always His will to stay, but it isn’t always His will to move, either. Sometimes He says, “Go.” Other times He says, “Stay.” That’s why I’m typically hesitant about advising anyone in such matters. I have a hard enough time figuring out when I’m supposed to stay and when I’m supposed to go!
What I can tell you is that Proverbs 3:5-6 has always been a help to me anytime I’ve stood at the crossroad of decision. And so I’ll offer these verses as the close to this post. I trust that they will be as much of a blessing to you as they have been to me in decisions past:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding: In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (N.K.J.V.)