Friday, October 23, 2009

The Island Experience

Joseph Herrin (10-23-09)

Occasionally someone will write to me expressing concern that I do not have a home, but spend my days camping. I suppose that to many people, living in a tent, a van, or a small camper appears as a hardship, but I have found a great contentment and peace in following the leading of the Spirit down these paths.

In 1999 the Spirit indicated that I was to leave my job as a computer professional and follow Him. He led me to begin a ministry of writing, and I found that my former manner of living had to be laid aside in order to follow Christ.

While working as a computer professional I earned a good salary. I had a home, furnishings, and many material goods. I considered these things to be the blessings of God, though many of them were actually obtained by pursuing the desires of my soul, rather than at the direction of the Spirit of Christ.

Christ spoke much on the topic of our relationship to the goods of this world. He stated the following to His disciples.

Matthew 6:19-21
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Christ knows that we have certain needs while we live on this earth. We need our daily bread to survive. We also need some cover from the elements, for mankind is not a particularly hardy creature. Man was not born with a fur coat, or a shell on his back. We do have some basic needs.

God wants us to be satisfied to have these basic needs met. He wants us to be content with the necessities, while pursuing the true riches that are in Christ. This was also the testimony of the apostles.

I Timothy 6:6-8
Godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

I am not only content with the food and covering the Father has provided for me, I consider myself greatly blessed.












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I was blessed to have my friend and brother in Christ, Randy Simmons join me for a few weeks here on Jekyll Island. He returned to Macon a few days ago, so I moved to the site pictured above. My daughter also visited for four days, which was a wonderful experience. We took bike rides together, and played putt-putt golf. We also had many good talks, and enjoyed the beauty of Yahweh’s creation.











Kristin at Driftwood Beach
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Here is another shot of my daughter at this beautiful location.















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The material things we possess in this world are not our true riches. I find that when I have less of the goods of this world, I appreciate more the things that are truly important. Time spent with a loved one, a conversation with a friend, and especially fellowship with God who created all things. I do desire that I would grow more and more in a loving dependence upon, and joyful relationship to, the One who created me and then purchased me back from the dominion of sin and Satan at the cost of the precious blood of His Son.

Having much of this world’s goods can impede the development of relationship to God. We find ourselves devoting much time to work to pay for all our possessions. We become enslaved to safeguarding what we have, maintaining all we possess lest it deteriorate, and spending much time focused upon things of the earth. If we had fewer possessions, we would have much greater freedom.

Luke 12:15
And He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."

True life is not found in the accumulation of things. Indeed, this accumulation can keep us from discovering the riches of the one true source of life. Christ declared that He was the life, and in Him was the life of men. I once thought that Christ was asking much of the young man who had great possessions when He spoke to him the following words:

Luke 18:22
"One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess, and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

It seemed to me for many years that Christ was asking this man to sacrifice much. Lately, I have considered that Christ was actually seeking to lead this young man to the discovery of something much greater; treasures in heaven that his earthly possessions were hindering him from attaining. Yahweh is our great treasure. King David understood this. He wrote:

Psalms 16:5-6
Yahweh is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
Thou dost support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

David compares his inheritance in God to the earthly inheritance of Israel when they cast lots to see which tribe would receive the various portions of the land. David is declaring that when his lot was cast, he received the chief portion, for Yahweh was his inheritance. David’s inheritance is altogether pleasant. Indeed, it is beautiful to him.

I once owned a house on an acre of land in town. I had some measure of fellowship with God, but not to the degree that I experience today. As I have released the things of this world, I have found that my attention is drawn more and more to the presence of God. I have fewer things to distract my devotion.

Day by day, I thank God for His blessing. I am free to awake in the morning and spend time with the One who created the heavens and the earth. I have much liberty to attend to that ministry He has appointed to me. As I travel about the island on my bicycle I find myself expressing praise to God for the beauty He has revealed in His creation. I am grateful for simple pleasures, such as a bike ride along a shady path.












Portion of Jekyll Island Bike Trail
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When we spend less time hidden inside of our possessions, we are able to observe more of that which is around us.












The Hidden Pathway
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I observed the hidden path pictured above as I rode my bike down a deserted stretch of beach. I was drawn in, and walked down to the gate, turned around, and took the following photo.












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We serve an awesome God. I do not always get to spend time in such idyllic surroundings. I recently spent three years at an inner city rescue mission. An entire year of this time was spent living in a dorm with more than 30 men who were in an alcohol and drug recovery program. Yet, there is peace and contentment to be found even in such a place as that. The joy is knowing that we are where our Father desires us to be, and we are doing what He has called us to do. The channels of fellowship are open, for we are surrendered vessels before Him, looking to Yahweh to fill us up with His presence.

I have to show you one little guy I encountered on a bike ride on a rainy day. He came out to rest himself on the cool, wet pavement.












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This alligator was about two feet long. He did not seem bothered by my presence, and I was not bothered by his. We met, and then parted.

Some may wonder at the cost of living as I do, staying in campgrounds. It is the off-season here on the island, and the cost of a month’s stay is $450. This includes electricity, water, sewer, cable, and free Wi-Fi. I don’t have a television, so I don’t use the cable, and I have my own Wi-Fi account with my phone provider, so these features are not used. When I am in Middle Georgia I am able to camp with the same accommodations for $325 a month.

There was a scribe who came to Yahshua one day saying that he wanted to be His disciple. Yahshua responded as follows:

Matthew 8:20
"The foxes have holes , and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

When Christ called me to a ministry of writing, He too led me away from the security and comfort of having my own home. There have been some truly difficult places that I have had to pass through. There has been a cross to bear, and much loss to be borne, but my heart is at peace. I am a blessed man. I know where my treasure is, and neither thief nor moth nor rust can touch it.












Just Me

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: http://www.parablesblog.blogspot.com

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

5 comments:

Joe said...

Dear Joseph,

You are blessed, far more than many realize. I wouldn't consider your accomodations a hardship or discomforting at all. In fact, I would embrace it.

John 13:35,
Joe Riley

newine said...

Backpacking totally alone for days in the high country in Wyoming, I've had a glimpse of what you describe, Joseph. In trying to convey how close to God one feels during such times, I've found that, if someone hasn't had such an experience (and sought God in it) it's nearly impossible to describe the richness of it.

I should think that the world would work overtime to heap all kinds of subtle and not-so-subtle derision on such a lifestyle (at least nowadays; pity is a kind of derision). I can sense from how you write about it that it's not meant to be prescriptive. Others are called to other things, and there are seasons in life for solo and seasons for fellowship.

Yet I can see how you are the one who who "gets it" and that those of us with mortgages and jobs are the ones in chains.

Sandy H. said...

THERE IS SUCH DEPTH AND RICHNESS IN YOUR CURRENT POSTING. IT IS A TESTIMONY WE "NEED" TO EMBRACE AS IT MAY SOON BE ONE MANY OF US ARE CALLED TO WALK. AM GRATEFUL HE HAS PLACED YOU ON THE PATH "NOW" SO YOUR INSTRUCTION WILL HELP PREPARE US FOR OUR FUTURE WILDERNESS JOURNEY. PRAISE YAHWEH FOR WATCHNG OVER HIS BELOVED BRIDE. MAY OUR EARS BE OPEN TO THE MESSAGE OF PREPARATION HE SPEAKS THROUGH YOU!

SHALOM, SHALOM,
SANDY H.

D Randall said...

Yours is the true way for ministry: Faith as profession, alms for wages.

May I ask a favor? Could you delve into how those of us with kids and employees who depend upon our ability to provide for them can reconcile our lives with the way of God. I live well, but not extravagantly. I give as much as I can after providing for my family. We don't covet anything but are thankful for everything.

I have never thought, 'til now, that perhaps my life is misdirected. I have thought that taking care of oneself first, family and dependants second, and church third and society fourth is the way we are supposed to prioritize our lives. Are we at odds with Christ by living this way?

Joseph Herrin said...

Dear Randall,

There is not any prescribed lifestyle that the saints of God must life. What is required is that we allow ourselves to be led of the Spirit in all that we do. Paul declared that he experienced both abundance and lean times. He learned to be content whether abounding or abased. He was content with whatever the Father chose for him.

Philippians 4:11-13

In 1999 the Father directed me to lave my employment as a computer professional. I had a wife and two young children. We did not live as we had previously, but we never lacked the necessities.

If God finds a willing heart, He will be faithful to guide them in the path He has determined for them.

The model you set forth of taking care of oneself first, family and dependents second, church third and society fourth may have some relevance to it, but we are all called to be surrendered to the leading of the Spirit.

There have been times when I have been led to give money away to another with a more immediate need, when personal bills were looming. Yahweh always makes up the difference. The object is to hear and obey.