Butt-Kicker

Exodus 4:18 (NLT): 18 So Moses went back home to Jethro, his father-in-law. “Please let me return to my relatives in Egypt,” Moses said. “I don’t even know if they are still alive.”

“Go in peace,” Jethro replied.


John 20:19–23 (NLT): 19 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”


The term "Butt-Kicker" brings up a lot of crude and violent connotations. Regardless of the mental image though, there is a common theme that runs through all the variations of people claiming that title. They move us. They do not let us stay in one place.


Leonard Sweet portrays Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses as a "Butt-Kicker". In the Exodus passage above, He tells Moses to "go in peace". However, a more literal translation of that comment would be "Go to peace". That is an awkward phrase in English, which is probably why it is not usually translated that way. Sweet argues that the meaning is very different though.


Going to peace implies that you won't find peace where you are, so you best get a move on. Going in peace, usually implies a state of surrender, of giving up. Indeed, the most common phrase we use including "in peace" is Rest In Peace (R.I.P.) which describes death.


Butt-Kickers don't let us rest and they don't let us die. They make us move. I need a Butt-Kicker when I'm sick and when I'm anxious. If we are sick, sitting around moping won't help. Get to the doctor! Do something to get better! When I get anxious, I can get obsessed, depressed, and be as useful as a bump on a log. The more I complain, the less I do.


Good Butt-Kickers know our strengths and weaknesses and how to motivate us to do better. They are the coaches in our lives that drive us to follow God when we won't follow our shepherds and leaders. They remind us that we are not just saved, we are sent by our Savior and Lord.


  • Who is your Butt-Kicker?
  • How do they focus on helping you grow your strengths?
  • How do they protect you from falling into your weaknesses?

Your mercy flows like a wild, wild river
Your love is strong like the raging sea


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