Monday, July 17, 2006

 

Missionary pressure

My calling is to build a relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. I am to be so in love with Him that the relationship is contageous. One day, when I get to heaven, God will not ask me how many people were baptized, signed a card, or even how many opportunities I missed along the way. He is sovereign over all, and does not need me. rather chooses to allow me to work with Him in calling a people to Himself.

As I said, He is sovereign over all, and can save anyone at any time with or without me, the IMB, Southern Baptists, or any other missions sending agency. For example, once a man was on his way to a town to kill Christians. He was struck blind from a light, heard voices ,and acknowleged Jesus' resurrection and submitted himself to Jesus' Lordship. My purpose is not to resurrect the lordship debate, except just to say that our mandate is to make disciples. We are not called to make decisions. So that there is no doubt, a decision is someone who makes a verbal commitment to accept the free gift of salvation which has been provided on the cross. A disciple recognizes that the cost of salvation was a cruel, bloody death, then a resurrection. They enter into a slave type relationship with Jesus, giving Him complete rule over their life. Does not mean that they are perfect, it just means that they recognize that Jesus owns them, and thus has authority over their actions.

As I was saying, God does not need me to usher in His kingdom in Paraguay. In fact, He does not NEED me at all. He could take me out and His work would go on. He chooses to allow me the privilege of partnering with Him in His work by spreading the news, teaching others, and starting small groups. Current leadership does not pressure unduly. They are concerned that we do our job, I am thankful for the accountability that we have. That helps us to stay on target. I am thankful for the training that is offered.

Having said that, let me say that our mission force is over 5,000 strong, and we are all different. Some of us are type A personalities. These are the people who play every game to the very limit. They are going to win! They are the movers and shakers of our world. Thank God for these people. We need them. I'm the guy that watches the family board game go three or four times around the table, before asking when I will get to go again, knowing all along that the beloved type A who goes after my turn has skipped me unconciously again.

I refuse to feel internal pressure. It is true that William Carey spent 7 years without a convert, but look at Noah, who spent over a hundred years, and nobody outside his family was saved! There are also other prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah, who would be marked as complete failures, if we look only at stats.

I know that God loves everyone, and that He desires that no one perish. I believe firmly that when Jesus died on the cross, He died for every human being that has ever, or ever will live. Yet, we are told that in the last days, perilous times will come. Men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boasters proud blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy..... having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. The truth is that we are not going to usher in the kingdom of God by our evangelistic efforts. That does not mean that we do not evangelize.
It just means that if we play by the numbers, we tend to burn out, loose our relationships with our family members and our health. God's plan for us is to enjoy Him as well as the journey, balance the time that we spend outside the home, in preparation, and with family members wisely. If we as missionaries loose our families, we have lost everything. Our ministries cannot prosper if our family members' needs for our presence go unmet.

My call is to a confident relationship with my Lord. I am called to obey Him. His command is to make disciples, and allow Him to use me for His glory and to spread the good news that Jesus is the only hope that anyone has. I am to tell them the stories, live my life as salt, light, and an agent of change, regardless of what others think, say, or do.

The Holy Spirit has the responsibility of convicting the world of sin, what is right, and that there is a coming judgment. He is responsible to guide me to the people with whom I should speak, and even giving me the words I should say. When the day ends, without baptisms, but I know that I have been obedient to do my job, I believe that I am more successful than the prophet Jonah, who had all the numbers, but misplaced values, wrong motives, and ultimately miserable.

Comments:
So glad I "discovered" your blog this morning. Didn't know you had joined the "blog world!" What you write are good words. I have enjoyed reading through your entries this AM. The "Missionary pressure" in particular is one of my issues these days. I feel that many M's indeed feel pressure to produce, and yet as you point out, God is sovereign. Is it possible that a lot of perceived pressure comes from ourselves and our own expectations?
 
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