Thursday, April 14, 2011

Recently, I have been asked the same question multiple times, by people from multiple continents. Since it seems to be on the hearts and minds of His own, right now, I though I would share my response to a brother in South Africa.

The basic question is, "How do you know if you're being called to be a missionary?"

Here is my response to one of them:

I fought against being a missionary. I sat each week with a ‘white-knuckle’ grip on the pew, refusing to allow the Lord to use me. I am a homebody. I would rather be home with family, hunting, or hiking in the mountains, than to be around people. I don’t like to travel.

I came to realize, that we are ALL called to be missional in our lifestyle. That means no matter where we go, or who we might see, we need for them to see Jesus, not us. Very humbling, indeed! It’s hard to be missional if one spends all of their time in places of personal preference or comfort.

Since yielding to the Lord’s definitive call on my own heart, my family and I have now had the privilege of serving in two dozen countries, on five continents…and I don’t like to travel (laughing).

My family and I were already living missional lives when God called me to become full time in it. We were sharing our faith in our areas of influence in the Midwest of the USA. We were taking advantage of opportunities to serve Him on short term trips, overseas at each opportunity. I am not wealthy. I didn’t think we could afford it, yet the Lord always provided what was needed for us to be able to serve where He called us. God’s economy doesn’t always make financial sense on a personal level. I had to learn to trust Him in this.

Ultimately, to become full time in serving from a missions standpoint, the cost for us would be greater than money or any earthly expectation. We would see our only son and youngest child, spend his very life for the cause of Christ. He would teach us much about what was important. Glorifying Jesus is all that truly matters.

After this, my opportunity came with the very organization my son had traveled with for two summers. They asked me to join their staff and help raise up leaders and students to go and serve, then to lead teams with my wife. My daughters have done so alongside of us, and led for us separately.

His call is articulated to each of us in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). How He uses us, is greatly dependent upon our level of surrender. For us, understanding His will was a gradual thing. Others ask me this question, frequently of late. He seldom reveals His call the same way in each life. The nature of our personal relationship reveals that how He communicates with me, may be different than how He communicates with you. However, the way you routinely hear from Him, is the way He will usually speak truths and calls into your life. Allow His Word to wash over you as you read it. Offer your full surrender, and see how He moves.

My own circumstances are contrary to what the world teaches, or at least how people in my country pursue wealth. Each position he has called me to has required a 25% pay decrease (at a minimum). Things never made financial sense, but our needs have always been met. We truly are on a faith journey, and He provides (thus the reason His Word says, “give us this day our daily bread”). Ours is to follow in obedience and have faith. His is to meet our needs and bring glory to the Father.

Some denominations have their own missions programs that allow for people to apply and then potentially serve. This was not the vehicle He would lead us to or through.

Sometimes, we have to ignore how the world teaches us to be prudent, and just seek Jesus. What doesn’t always make sense to us, has been well thought out by Him. If we are yielded before Him, He will use us. It may not be across a border, but He will use us. What remains important is our surrender and our obedience. Tomorrows landscape may look quite different from today’s. However, He is already there and has a plan. We just need to walk in it.



At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you! You always hit home with your words.


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