We value our security and comfort over the call of Jesus to show mercy to the poor, orphans, and widows, and even to make disciples. We somehow believe that the gospel doesn't really apply to us if would mean that we would have to be at risk, or if our children were at risk. We proclaim how things should be, of how people should act, of what someone else should do, because we are no longer personally seeking first the face of God.
The condition of the world is a direct result of the conviction of those who claim to be followers of Jesus. Do we live with mission as our existence? Do we walk the earth daily with a willingness to lose everything for Him?
|My first time as Baptizer|
|My youngest daughter. I'd die for her.|
|Me and Pop Mathis - He was a preacher|
|A child in a village. What is her worth?|
I don't see too many folks living like that.
|Roasting marshmallows over a hurting city|
I want to be a person who says yes to the voice of God. If He says talk to the lady in the check-out at the grocery, then do it. At that point, you are participating in the missionary task. Before coming to a foreign nation to be obedient to God, I had to become obedient to God in Middletown, Ohio.
This was my path. Some others are different. Was Jonah obedient to God before he ran from the Ninevah command? Did Daniel wake up and decide to stare down some lions? No, I just don't think that anyone in their right mind wakes up and decides to be a missionary. It is more about a deep desire and a desperate passion to seek the face of God and to follow in obedience. An understanding that their is nothing else that compares. There simply is no other path.
I'm not a missionary. Maybe I'm an apostle? Maybe I'm just a wretched beggar desperate to be filled. Maybe I'm the leper calling out for mercy from a distance. Most days I'm just a thief on a cross... sometimes the bitter one, sometimes the grateful one. Each day is a refocusing on this following.
I was talking with students today about Christ followers who are commanded to renounce their faith at the end of a gun. We watched video of christ followers proclaiming faith in God and Jesus even though they were executed and the enemy then danced over their bleeding bodies. The students expressed deep sadness. I challenged them to rejoice in the great faith of sons and daughters of God going home into the open arms of a God that promises to us that nothing can separate us from His love.
Those who fell in that video answered the call, "Here am I, send me." There was nothing that was greater than their love of God. Nothing.
|Me & Sterling at Labor de Falla School|
When we reach that point... I believe we understand the missionary task. To follow Jesus is to abandon all else. Follow Him first and the rest will be in alignment.
To those who stand in the trenches:
I know I am just a pea-brain on the sidelines, and I can't understand the full weight of what you are bearing... however I recognize that it is suffocating and unescapable. I can't give you advice. You are the pro because you are on the battlefield.
But, if I can offer some perspective from a person who isn't under constant fire... the only thing I can point to is Paul. Somehow he was able to take his suffering and shift the focus to considering that his suffering was for the good of others (that it was worthwhile for what he valued) and that his refusal to take vengeance brought glory to God. Paul saw this as bearing out the behavior of Jesus Christ.
I know you probably want me to shut up. I really don't claim to know any better. I think in many ways your wisdom and knowledge surpasses my own. But I also acknowledge that you are in the thick of battle and it can be hard to see. Each blow that you take is a powerful statement. You are standing. So many are not willing to stand. Because you are standing, it enrages the enemy. Somehow... if you can, turn it over to God? Don't let the bitterness swallow you.
Know that you are standing for good and that every hit you take is worth it. I swear... the more we walk in the will of God, the more difficulty we face. I am praying for you twofold: for boldness in the face of your trials, & for the favor of God to find you in your obedience. If I'm off base, forgive me.