God has been doing a lot of convicting and stirring in my heart these last couple weeks. I want to first confess to you, my church family, and second, knowing your hearts and love for Christ, to issue a challenge. Here we go:
“The Moravians (1730’s) were the first wave of Protestant missionaries to Africa. William Carey and Robert Moffat followed soon after. First they hit the coastlands, and they struggled to survive there. The missionaries of this era did not pack their belonging in crates, barrels, or suitcases. They packed them in their own coffins. They did this so that upon their death, their teammates wouldn’t have to waste extra time in burying them. When these missionaries waved goodbye to their loved ones, it was for the last time, and they knew it.
The average life expectancy of missionaries in this time was two years, and yet they poured into Africa, willing to lay down their lives, determined to advance the Gospel, if only inch by inch. One African king saw the missionaries unloading their coffins, and he said, ‘What is it that would drive them to sacrifice their lives on this foreign soil?’ He had to find out, and he became a Christian because of their testimony- ‘because they loved not their own life.’ “
Confession: When it comes to being passionate about the gospel, I am failing. Now you may say, “Haha, Beck…whatever. You do all this mission work, you help all these people.” Yes. Don’t get me wrong. I am very passionate about the gospel, God has really burdened my heart. But when I hear stories like this, and I take a look at my life in comparison, it paints a very clear picture of my lack of passion for the gospel. It’s easy to look around at what other people in the area are doing, or even other people across the country, and say ‘Well, I’m doing pretty good, I’m working harder and doing more than most of these people.’ But looking at some of these pioneer missionaries, or, dare I suggest it, looking at The Missionary– Christ, I am failing.
“But Beck, that’s a little harsh don’t you think.” Is it? I’m genuinely asking. Is it? Because if it is, by all means, tell me. Please. But I’m afraid the truth is, it’s not too harsh, it’s just very very very uncomfortable. Because if it is true, if me, in all my endeavors, the amount of passion I currently have for missions and for spreading the gospel…If that is failing, then succeeding is going to be very hard, very costly.
Confession: I would much rather sit and read about what I should be doing, (and what the best strategy is to do it, and then contemplate and write how that might look, and how God might want me to live that out), then to get on my knees and ask Him what He would have me do. Why? Because I’m afraid He might answer. And I might not like it. Because it might be hard, costly, uncomfortable. It is so much easier to read about the problems, to think through the statistics and the numbers, to re-tweet and repost and share with other how we are failing. It is even easy to say “Ok, this is what needs to change in my life. I fail here, I need to step it up here.” Because as long as I stay there, I am in control. I read it, I decided it was a change I should make, I thought about how I would make it, I decided it was doable, and I set out to do it.
Confession: I am not broken for the lost. I am getting there, sure, but I am not there. We (I) seem to think being broken for the lost means we pray for them or we go out of our way to hang out with them and show them Christians can be cool too. I do all these things, I’m an outstanding example of being intentional in reaching out to unbelievers. But I’m not broken for them. God has shown me that there is a HUGE difference in reaching out to the lost because we are supposed to and because He wants us to, and being broken for the lost because we are so like Christ that we share His heart and passion for the lost. Outside of these last few weeks I couldn’t tell you the last time I was on my face in tears pleading with God for the salvation of someone else, nevertheless willing to take their place if they could only know Him. “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers.” (Romans 9:2-3)
Disclaimer: I am not just talking about a passion for foreign missions here. Yes, there is that need. But please understand that when I say I am pro-missions, I mean pro-gospel. Pro-Uganda, pro-homeless ministry, pro-church planting, pro-Sav-a-life ministry, pro-ladies ministry, pro-small groups, pro-discipleship, pro-reading and studying, pro-just hanging out and encouraging one another so that we are better prepared to minister. I am not saying all this so people will feel bad, sell everything and move to Africa, and I felt the need to say that because thinking that, it could be easy to read this and pass it off as that.
Challenge: Are we broken and passionate or are we failing? And dare we ask Him to reveal these truths about our hearts? We say we exist for those that are not yet worshiping, we say we are a people of hope, we say we believe God has us in this city at this time for a reason. We hear this fact every week: “There are 300,000 people in our city, lost without hope and destined for an eternity in hell apart from Christ.” And we (me), nod our heads in agreement, and then we sing songs of worship, and then it’s off to eat chips and dip.
We say we have living hope. We say ours is the only hope that will not fail. And we say that we are immediately, without travelling anywhere or doing anything, surrounded by 300,000 people every day that are in desperate need of this hope.
But do we really care?
God is showing me that I do not care. That I have not cared. And the scary thing that makes me sick in the pit of my stomach is this:I thought I did. And I was deceived.
If we as a body are not careful, then we will find ourselves deceived.
Are we broken? Are we passionate? And dare we ask Him to reveal the true, honest answers to these questions? I don’t have the answers, and I don’t know what this is supposed to look like lived out. I just know that I am not there, and He is painfully revealing my own heart to me, and changes have to be made.”
Hebrews 10:23-24 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.”