Where Do You Sleep?

“And Jesus said to him, ‘The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head'” (Luke 9:58).
In listing my “qualifications” as a missionary, I sometimes have included my ability to sleep “almost anywhere.” Though I enjoy a firm mattress (preferably king-sized) in a clean air-conditioned room as much as the next person, I have made it fairly well on much too short wooden benches, the soiled ground of sheep or goat sheds, converted chicken houses, and other less than ideal environments. I once spent three nights in Suriname sleeping on two home-made wooden pews, pushed together, with only a sheet under me. I would sleep on one side for an hour, wake up with my hip and shoulder sore, turn to the other side for an hour, then to my back, then start over. I got 6 hours sleep each night and made it through the days just fine. On a trip to the mountains of Nepal, I spent a night in a stone lodge at 11,000 feet. The north wind was not slowed much by the un-mortared stones and it got cold! Still, I slept.
These ideas may be considered as variations on the old joke about where the 500-pound gorilla sleeps (“anywhere he wants to”). We sometimes must sleep “anywhere we can, if we can.” Our Lord set the example for us. While other kings and great men came with power, glory, and wealth, Jesus had less of material possessions than even the animals of the earth. His was not a life of luxury or ostentation. Rather, he did not have even so much as a bedroom to call his own. Not because he could not have -? he is and was the very creator of all material things, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” — but because he was indifferent to his material comfort and it was irrelevant to his mission. He “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Not everyone can sleep just anywhere, in any circumstances. A friend of mine always takes his own pillow with him on mission trips. He has to have that pillow. Is that a sign of being too dependant on material things? Not at all. I view it as recognizing and providing for those things necessary to doing good work. He could stay home with his pillow. But he does not; he takes it with him and does not let his physical need become a hindrance to doing the Lord’s work.
That is really the lesson in Jesus’ warning to the would-be disciple of Luke 9. Count the cost, see what is going to be required, and make sure you are able to pay the necessary price. He is not suggesting that we write off the work as too expensive but that we see in advance exactly what we are getting into and that we make adequate provisions.
These thoughts also motivate us, however, by reminding us of the great price others have paid for our comfort and salvation, and encouraging us to repay in similar dedication to others. If Jesus could renounce home and comfort, can’t I? If the apostles and early martyrs could give their life in the work of evangelism, should we not do the same? Ours is the greatest treasure ever known, the “pearl of great price.” Let us give up all else and lay hold on that which is most important.

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Michael Brooks

Since 1988 Mike and his wife Brenda have been involved in foreign missions in South America, Africa, and South Asia. Beginning in 1999 they devoted full time to missions, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.

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One thought on “Where Do You Sleep?

  1. I enjoyed this article very much. It is very encouraging to hear that there are some who have to sacrifice more than merely salary for the sake of the gospel in this day and time. Keep up the good work brother!

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