BY HEIKO TIMM
This is my story about counting it all for loss.
Moving here from Germany 5 years ago meant giving up a whole lot. It meant giving up my full-time job, my own apartment, financial security, my home church, and my friends and family. It meant learning a new culture and getting better at a language that wasn’t my own. Since my Discipleship Training School in 2008, I knew San Francisco would become my home at some point in my life. The first time I crossed the Bay Bridge in October 2008 the Holy Spirit told me very clearly,
“Keep your eyes open and your heart ready Heiko, I have something for you here.”
The moment I arrived in the Tenderloin I had my answer. The dirty sidewalks, the people living on the streets, the evidence of hopelessness and in the middle of it all - YWAM. Not hidden, but present. Not passive, but engaged. That was the moment where it felt right and I finally knew that this was where I was supposed to be.
I moved back to Germany after my DTS and started to settle back into a rhythm of work and church. There were days that I couldn’t get San Francisco out of my head, and other days were spent stowing away that possibility. Finally, in 2011 my journey took off! I applied to join as a staff member, was accepted, and in the fall I visited the city to finalize my decision in person.
There I was 3 years later, back in San Francisco; back in the Tenderloin. One day, in particular, I found myself walking through the Tenderloin talking to Jesus. I started asking Him if He still wanted me to give up everything for all of the brokenness I was seeing around me. The same hopelessness, the same poverty, the same dirty streets as before. Suddenly I heard the voice of Jesus immediately answer,
“Yes, Heiko.” And as quickly as He had answered me, I said, “Ok Jesus if that is what you want from me, I will do it.”
So I gave it all up. I gave it to pursue something that was so absolutely adventurous, unknown and scary to me. Every day for the first month of being in San Francisco I wanted to go home. I was so homesick and overwhelmed that I cried day after day after day. I had to make the decision to really trust Jesus over and over again.
God taught me so much in my first year on staff. I realized that even though following Jesus required a sacrifice, that my dreams weren’t lost at all! They were restored and fulfilled. I am able to make rent every month in my own place in San Francisco! I have a loving community that is like family to me! And I gained so much freedom, love, and fullness when I declared all of my worldly possessions as lost.
When you read this today, I want to encourage you to ask Jesus what He wants you to count as a loss today? Where is He calling you into a new fullness, an unknown adventure, a step of obedience?
When we say “yes”, Jesus always ushers us into something so much deeper and richer than what we count as valuable and important today. And at the same time, Jesus knows what we need and what our heart deeply desires. Ask Jesus, and don’t be afraid of His answer.
When I decided to count it all as a loss, Jesus gave me some much more in return. And that’s what He does! Because our Jesus is good like that.