This past Sunday was our church’s annual, ‘Mission Sunday’ celebration. Every year, we reserve this day to honor the Missionaries our church supports around the world, and to inform others about the importance of carrying out The Great Commission: Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20.
Last year, as I opened the doors to the church auditorium and seen the beautifully colored and creatively designed flags of the world strung across the wide expanse of the ceiling, a very strong thought came to my mind… “If you want to be involved in something big, be involved in this. If you want to make a difference in the world, this is it. Give up your small ambitions.” What do you think? Do you think that was God speaking to me? I think it was. What on earth could be more important than doing something for God? What could be longer lasting? Make more of a difference in the short-term and for eternity? Nothing. If you want to talk about ‘laying treasures up in heaven’, this takes the cake, no contest.
Two Missionaries spoke during our conference; one couple is ministering in United Arab Emirates, and the other, in a volatile and hostile area of North Africa. The couple in UAE feel relatively safe, the other couple are at high risk of persecution, however, they feel that if God has placed them in this location, He will protect them. I was quite humbled by their strong faith and lack of fear compared to my small faith…
When we think of those who have blazed the mission trail before us; Darlene Deibler Rose (excellent book) who was interned in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during WWII, or Jim Elliot and his group trying to befriend the Waodani people in the jungles of Ecuador, and then later, his widow, Elisabeth living amongst the Waodani. We realize they were the pioneers who heard God’s call, and forged ahead in the name of Christ, not looking back. So too are the Missionaries we were privileged to listen to and fellowship with last Sunday–pioneers who first traveled to these far away locations in the world sharing the Word of God. Frankly, I am in awe of them and their faith and obedience–I’m not sure if I could do the same.
I’ve just finished reading ‘No Longer a Slumdog’, by K.P. Yohannan, and ‘Kisses From Katie’, by Katie Davis with Beth Clark. (Both books are on my ‘Good Reads’ list and they are excellent). As a young woman, Katie Davis gave up her comfortable life in the southern United States to live in Uganda to feed and educate starving children. She writes: “I don’t always know where this life is going. I can’t see the end of the road, but here is the greatest part: Courage is not about knowing the path, it’s about taking the first step. It is about Peter getting out of the boat stepping out onto the water with complete faith that Jesus will not let him drown”.
K.P. Yohannan began Gospel For Asia and the organization, GFA Bridge of Hope which offers sponsorship for suffering and destitute children to rescue them from poverty and to share with them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the book, ‘No Longer A Slumdog’, one sponsor writes in part: “Now my wife and I sponsor two dozen children–twice as many as we ever thought we would have as our own! They are scattered all through-out India and Nepal. I cannot imagine doing anything more worthwhile with my life…”
Just a few pioneers who gave up their ‘small ambitions’… it might have been a lucrative career, a promising future, or just a cushy, safe, hum-drum life. Definitely something to think about… and act on? Stay tuned.