When you read, "I hate all your shows, your fellowship offerings, your empty music... instead let their be a flood of justice, a never ending stream of righteousness" (Amos5:21-24), it's okay that it makes you cry. You aren't crazy. And when the story of the "Good Samaritan" leaves your heart broken and contrite, don't hide it. It's okay that you take it personally and literally -- Jesus really does want you to love your neighbor that intensely.
And when asking yourself, "Does Jesus really mean what He says?" The answer is yes. Always. Even when He tells you:
Sell your possessions. Give of yourself... And come follow Me. (Matthew19:16-21) Your food and your clothes is meant to be shared. Don't love money, be content with your wages. (Matthew6:19-24;Luke3:7-14) Leave the dead to bury their own dead. (Matthew8:21-22) Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who abuse you. Give to everyone who begs from you. If someone takes away some material possession of yours, don't demand it back. Actually do to others what you, in your desperation, would want them to do unto you. (Luke6:27-31) Carry nothing with you that you don't really need. And if necessary for My glory, don't even carry what you think you need. No cash, no extra bag, go barefoot, and rely on others' grace and hospitality. (Luke10:1-8) Preach the Gospel. Cast out demons. Speak in new tongues. Pick up serpents with your hands. Heal the sick. (Mark16:16-18;Matthew10:8-10)
None of these things are metaphors, as it were.
But don't worry -- God, Himself, is "with you always, even to the very end of the age." And though following Him off your campus and into the vast unknown that the foreign Christian Mission field is, is scary, you'll not regret that you did.
- (Post originally written by my friend, Mae Smith)