Outside the Camp – A Word from My Man

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Seventeen years ago this month I drove into Wolf Mountain Camp, not sure of what the summer would bring. Well, it brought me incredible memories, lasting friendships, and the ability to saddle and bridle a horse (watch out, world).

It also brought me the cute blond guy with bright blue eyes. We’ve been married for over fifteen years, and although his blond hair now has patches of gray, his eyes are still bright blue and he’s still so very cute. Image

He has agreed to be the first of four guest bloggers who will appear during my 30 days of things excellent or praiseworthy. Today you will see his heart, and where he is leading our family.

From my dear husband:

There is a passage in Hebrews that caught my attention a few years ago and has stuck with me ever since. It says, “Let us go to Jesus outside the camp, bearing His shame.” (Heb. 13:13)  When I first read it, I didn’t get it. What does it mean to go to Jesus outside the camp? It intrigued me enough to do some studying and what I found was life-changing.

I learned that the phrase, “Outside the camp,” was in several places in the Old Testament. It was typically the place where the diseased, unclean, and sinful people were kept. It is where people were punished if they broke the law. The camp needed to stay clean, and there were safeguards to keep it clean.

Interestingly, though, it was also where God set up the place of worship for the Israelites when they pulled that golden calf stunt. God could not be in the camp with them because of their sin, so they needed to go outside the camp to commune with the Lord. However, most of the people stayed at their tent door and worshipped from afar.

So, when the readers of Hebrews hear, “Go to Jesus outside the camp, bearing His shame,” they know what it means. To follow Jesus was to step out of the comforts of the camp.

Jesus lived His life outside the camp. He spent time with the unclean, healed lepers, talked with Samaritan women, and gathered misfits as His followers. And He bore the shame for it.

What was the shame He experienced? He was questioned in his own home town. He was called a glutton, drunkard, friend of tax collectors and sinners, said to have had a demon, and called a deceiver and a Samaritan. He was arrested and convicted of crimes he did not commit, and was beaten, mocked, humiliated, and tortuously killed.

All because He dared to love people outside the inner circle.

So what does it mean for us to go to Jesus outside the camp, bearing His shame?

It is to go outside of the comforts of the camp to where Jesus is, where the action is. It means not trying to be privileged insiders, but instead taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. It means not being afraid to get our hands dirty.

When I began to realize what this passage was actually saying about what it means to follow Jesus, I noticed how close to the camp I stayed. It is easy and tempting to stay where it is comfortable, where we are liked, and where we can relax.

But truly following Jesus is to step outside. It is to follow Him to where the pain is. To go where the hurting are, to where the sick are. He calls us to go where it is awkward, to go where no one else is willing.

We are to go to the outcast, come alongside them, and minister to them as Jesus did.

So who are the outcast in our world? Well, who are the ones that could cause questioning, ridicule, and for us to become outcast ourselves?

Let’s not be afraid to be ridiculed, scorned, or have our reputation tarnished. Our purpose on this earth is not power, prestige, popularity, or comfort.  Our purpose is to make disciples of all people – including the unlovely – and living life with them.  This is not glamorous or flashy, and it’s not going to win us any awards.

But it’s going to make a difference for the kingdom of Christ.  And this is excellent and praiseworthy.

“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8

See you tomorrow!


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