Missions March: An all-call to Christians everywhere

A natural response of our human nature of infortitude to give up missions because we “can’t do it all.”

But, Christians, we don’t have only our sin nature of infortitude.  We have the living God within us, too.  The sin nature inside us is dying, dying, dead.  The God inside us is living, living, alive.  So which of these two should we follow?

If “I can’t do it all” is really a reason worth for giving up on something, why do anything for God at all?

I am not likely to ever have the impact in my writing that, for example, C.S. Lewis did.  But that doesn’t stop me from writing.  I know I do reach people with my blogs–even if it’s only one or two.  I’m delighted when a friend or family member sends me an email or facebook response.  I remember especially one blog I did in which an unsaved friend of mine commented that he liked it.  I didn’t think, Well that wasn’t worth it–I only reached 1 friend.  I think instead, Glory to God!  I’ve reached someone!

Sometimes, I don’t know that I reach anyone at all.  I’m not sure that all my blogs are helpful, and I know my writing is far from perfect.  At times, I spend lots of time struggling for the words, or I abandon an idea after a painful amount of time on it.

But that doesn’t keep me from writing.

I write because God has given me this gift–and I am expected to use it for His Kingdom.

The kingdom of heaven is like a man who was leaving on a trip. He called his servants and handed his possessions over to them. To one he gave five valuable coins, and to another he gave two, and to another he gave one. He gave to each servant according to that servant’s ability. Then he left on his journey.

“After the man left, the servant who had five valuable coins took them and went to work doing business with them. He gained five more. In the same way, the one who had two valuable coins gained two more. But the servant who had received the one valuable coin dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.

“Now after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five valuable coins came forward with five additional coins. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Excellent! You are a good and faithful servant! You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’

“The second servant also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done! You are a good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’

“Now the one who had received one valuable coin came and said, ‘Master, I knew that you are a hard man. You harvest grain where you haven’t sown. You gather crops where you haven’t spread seed. So I was afraid. And I hid my valuable coin in the ground. Here, you have what’s yours.’

“His master replied, ‘You evil and lazy servant! You knew that I harvest grain where I haven’t sown and that I gather crops where I haven’t spread seed? In that case, you should have turned my money over to the bankers so that when I returned, you could give me what belonged to me with interest. Therefore, take from him the valuable coin and give it to the one who has ten coins. Those who have much will receive more, and they will have more than they need. But as for those who don’t have much, even the little bit they have will be taken away from them. Now take the worthless servant and throw him outside into the darkness.’

“People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.”

(Matthew 25:14-30, CEB)

In Jesus’ parable about the three servants who were given money to take care of while their master was away, two servants went to work, taking risks and investing, and they had profit to show for it in the end.  One servant didn’t go to work at all, but was so fearful of making a bad decision that he stuck the money in a hole in a field, carefully marked where it was, and undug it when his master returned to give it back.

What’s so alarming about the parable is that the servant didn’t lose the money his master gave him, and yet he is condemned to the same place where others who are lost go in Jesus’ parables–a place of darkness and separation from God.

One maxim this parable teaches me is that you can’t just do nothing and be a Christian.  Those two ideas are mutually incompatible.  To be a Christian, you must have faith in Christ Jesus to save you.  And by the very nature of what faith is–the act of believing, really believing–you must act.  You can’t accept God’s message of salvation through Jesus Christ and be unchanged.  It’s impossible.

Don’t believe the lie that we might as well despair and the whole world is going to Hell in a handbasket.  That kind of defeatism won’t bring anybody to Jesus–so where do you think that idea comes from?

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT)

I know what Spirit my God has given me–and it isn’t one that gives up on this world!

See, the servants in Jesus’ parable didn’t come back to their master and say, “Guess what?  I made an infinite amount of coins while you were gone!”  They didn’t even come back and say, “Guess what?  I made a zillion coins while you were gone!”  They didn’t even come back and say, “Guess what?  I made a million coins while you were gone!”

They didn’t even come back and say, “Guess what?  I made a thousand coins while you were gone!”  And they didn’t even come back and say, “Guess what?  I made a hundred coins while you were gone!”

And they didn’t even come back and say, “Guess what?  I made ten coins while you were gone!”

The servant who got 5 coins earned 5 more coins.  5.

The servant who got 2 coins earned 2 more coins.  2.

But the master’s praise for these servants was zealous!  The focus of his praise wasn’t who made more money, but that they both worked and made money.

The servant who got 1 coin earned 0 more coins.  0.

He was not condemned because he had only 1 coin to begin with.  And he was not condemned because he hadn’t made 5 more coins or 2 more coins.  He was condemned because he’d made nothing out of what his master had given him.  It had been a huge waste.  The master could have given that extra coin to one of the other servants, and they would have used that coin for his kingdom.

Do you realize that God has given us all gifts?  There is nobody “giftless”.  Find the most lost, most depraved person you can, and I guarantee you that God gave that person a gift, too.  But whether a person chooses to use that gift–that is another matter.  God has given you what you need.  Are you using it?

The Bible is clear that we don’t all have the same gifts, but that each gift is important and necessary.

My friends, you asked me about spiritual gifts.I want you to remember that before you became followers of the Lord, you were led in all the wrong ways by idols that cannot even talk.Now I want you to know that if you are led by God’s Spirit, you will say that Jesus is Lord, and you will never curse Jesus.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve the same Lord,and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do.

 The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others.Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit.To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sickor the power to work mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God’s Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean.But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us.

The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does.Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God’s Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit.

Our bodies don’t have just one part. They have many parts.Suppose a foot says, “I’m not a hand, and so I’m not part of the body.” Wouldn’t the foot still belong to the body?Or suppose an ear says, “I’m not an eye, and so I’m not part of the body.” Wouldn’t the ear still belong to the body?If our bodies were only an eye, we couldn’t hear a thing. And if they were only an ear, we couldn’t smell a thing.But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best.

A body isn’t really a body, unless there is more than one part.It takes many parts to make a single body.That’s why the eyes cannot say they don’t need the hands. That’s also why the head cannot say it doesn’t need the feet.In fact, we cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. We take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies. We are modest about our personal parts,but we don’t have to be modest about other parts.

God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honored, the whole body will be happy.

Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body.

(1 Corinthians 12:1-27, CEV)

Paul compared each Christian’s work to a piece of the body.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live without eyes, ears, nose, fingers, toes, elbows, knees, or anything else.  Even pieces that seem like “eh, they don’t matter” are essential.  For example, I don’t sit and think about how nice my tailbone is.  But if my tailbone were broken, I guarantee you, I’d be thinking about how important my tailbone is.  The tailbone connects to so many muscles that when it’s broken the effect is terribly painful and crippling.

You aren’t good at teaching Sunday School?  That’s ok.  You’re not getting out of serving God.  🙂  Peter gives a big list of gifts God has given us, and yours doesn’t have to be the same as Billy Graham’s.  I guarantee you, God has given you at least one gift.  The question is, how will you use the gifts He’s given you?

Amy Carmichael is one of the most famous missionaries ever.  But did you know that Amy was bedridden for much of the last 20 years of her life?  What missions could she do from her bed?  She continued to run the safehouse God had given her to establish for girls in India forced into temple slavery.  GOD was at work in her life–not her!  And because GOD was the one at work, He could work as easily through her when she was in bed as He could when she was traveling around the country.  (Through her writing while she was on bed rest, and the testimony of her life, other missionaries like Jim and Elisabeth Elliot felt a burn in their hearts to serve God.)

My friend Lena, who died this year, brought family, friends, and neighbors to Christ through her cooking.  She would bring others to her house for a meal, or drop a pie off at their house.  She is one of the greatest missionaries I have known in my lifetime, and yet most of what she did was done by way of peach cobblers (and other treats).

Now was it really a peach cobbler that brought friends and neighbors to God?  Of course not.  Was it really a bedridden woman who brought child slaves in India to God?  Of course not.  It always has been, and always will be, the power of God.

And that is why we should rejoice!  It is not up to me to bring the world to Christ.  It is not even up to me to write a quality blog.  All I have to do is trust God within me to work through me.  If I listen to His call in my life, I will have profit to show Him on the day I die.

Jesus gives us the ability to go fishing for people.  With Him, it’s possible.  Without Him, it’s impossible.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19, NIV)

We can’t do it all, and we’re not asked to do it all.  All I’m asked, all I’m commanded to do is to take the gift or gifts God has given me and use them in faith for His Kingdom.  It is God, and only God, who can grow up the harvest for Himself.

“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. (Luke 10:2b, NLT)

Are you ready?  You are if you have given your life to Jesus.  Are you set?  You are if you’re staying in His Word, praying to Him, and listening to His Spirit in your life.

GO!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

Acknowledgements

I have many acknowledgements for this blog.  God, in His great grace, has given me many mentors and sources of inspiration.

  • My church and Global Impact Conference
  • My pastor Doug
  • My pastor John
  • My Sunday school teacher Kevin
  • Ken Ham and the ministry Answers in Genesis
  • Ravi Zacharias and his ministry RZIM
  • Compassion International, and especially little Mingkwan and the impact she’s had on my life from some 9,000 miles away
  • My friend Lena
  • David Menton and his talks about the human body on Answers in Genesis DVD’s
  • The DVD, The Story of Amy Carmichael and the Dohnavur Fellowship
  • Amy Carmichael on Wikipedia
  • The DVD Monumental with Kirk Cameron
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Published in: on February 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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