Who does God call into missions?
Last week I wrote about why Austria, now I’d like to share with you about the big event that even made considering living my life to reach students in Austria possible.
I can’t believe it but you have to go back a quarter century to a little pre-fab building at a small but growing church. I was fourteen and part of the church youth group. I’d grown up in church, gave my heart to Jesus at 7 years old, been baptized in water a couple of months before and now it was almost summer and our youth ministry was going through a transition. A transition that meant there was not a full-time youth leader.
I’ve learned in ministry that if you run out of time to prepare you can sometimes use someone else’s preparation in the form of video to allow you to take a breath. Not that that is the only reason for a video presentation in church, but it was probably 75% of the reason this night.
So I sat in the attic portion of the pre-fab building watching a VHS on a behemoth of a TV that together with its cart required 3 people to carry it up a flight of outdoor stairs. This was honestly not the best nor the worst beginning to a youth group meeting I had been to.
Then the speaker on the video began to talk. He was funny and he was passionate. I had a real sense that this man cared about his topic. His topic was missions.
I knew all about missions didn’t I? I mean I grew up in the church and we had at least 1 missionary a month. We had an annual convention of missionaries with 6 at one time in the church. I certainly knew about missions. But I had a few misconceptions. Along with very little knowledge of what a missionary really did, or how they spent their time, I was completely off when it came to “How does God call people to be Missionaries.”
My general impression of the missionary call was this:
Abraham S. Gideon, future missionary to darkest Africa, was sitting on a log fishing at 18 years of age when God spoke to him through the rainstorm. A loud voice proclaimed his destiny and all that was left was obedience or abandonment.
A childhood of bible stories culminating in Jonah and the Whale had convinced me that this was how God calls people. In fact it took bible school chapel before I learned the point of Jonah is not running from the call of God, but Jonah’s discontentment with a God who is a God of mercy, grace and forgiveness. (Read it, I dare you. And then tell me it doesn’t have application in the church today)
But here I sat in the back of the room, next to an MK who was interning in the youth group, listening to a man say that when God calls people to missions the most important thing he is looking for is willingness. In fact, if I remember him right, he said that God was asking each of us if we were willing to be missionaries. Not that God would call each person to go around the world, but that God does ask each Christian at some point or another. “Are you willing to leave it all and follow me around the world?”
The willing heart is the key. Do we love God back enough to say, “whatever it takes, I’ll follow”?
That night I said to God for the very first of very many times “God, I’m willing, I will follow.”
No there wasn’t an audible voice that shook the room. I didn’t give God 3 tests to show me he was talking. I didn’t know the timing, place, how or why. But I knew in that moment that God had called me to missions.
And I knew at that point that God calls the willing.
Are you willing? What is it God might be calling you to? How can you be a part of God’s mission to transform the world?
I’d love to read your comments about how God has called and what he is calling you to. You can use the comment box below.
Oh, and I went on to tell that MK what God had done that night, he prayed for me. I told my pastor, and he encouraged me. God confirmed the call in my life over and over and He continues to ask if I am willing.