Examining Our Excuses
When it comes to considering God’s command to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel,” we are faced with a difficult question: Who is our master? Jesus or our National culture?
We’ve heard all the reasons why people don’t get involved in missions:
“I don’t feel ‘called’ to go”
“There are other people who are more gifted to do that”
“I have to think of the future” (concerning possible financial lack in the future)
“I have to think of the future for my children” (concerning their education)
“My family expects me to make good use of my degrees and qualifications”
“I have parents to take care of”
“I’ll only go if God doesn’t send me to _______”
Many of us assume we are called not to go, simply because circumstances make it difficult to go (see all the reasons listed above—family, responsibilities, reputation, etc). The Lord did not say, however, “Go into all the world if it is convenient to do so…”
The truth is, Scripture clearly calls ALL disciples of Christ to participate in the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus makes this very clear to His followers: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” For every believer, this call will look different. For some, they will serve as senders, supporting or mobilizing others to go to the foreign field. For others, however, there is a challenge to physically GO to the unreached and share the Gospel with those who have never heard.
Sadly, many Christians assume they are in the first category (senders of missionaries), simply because they have never seriously prayed about the call to be a missionary themselves. Many of us assume we are called not to go, simply because circumstances make it difficult to go (see all the reasons listed above—family, responsibilities, reputation, etc). The Lord did not say, however, “Go into all the world if it is convenient to do so…”
Choosing to seek God’s will for our lives (and be obedient to what He calls us to!) is rarely easy. In many ways, the commands we find in Scripture run contrary to what “makes sense” in our world today (see 1 Corinthians 1). This can make our decision-making as Christians all the more difficult if we seek to find a middle ground between God’s radical calling of sacrifice and uncomfortable obedience, and society’s calling to acquire a “secure” future for ourselves and our families. When it comes to considering God’s command to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel,” we are faced with a difficult question: Who is our master? Jesus or our National culture?
There was a wealthy and powerful young man who once asked Jesus about what commands he would have to fulfill in order to follow Him. Without hesitation, Jesus honestly and bluntly responded by telling the man to “Go, sell all you have” (Mark 10:21, HCSB). Talk about counter-cultural! This command is the exact opposite of what our local culture tells us, yet there it is, very clearly in the Gospels. That young man could easily have been you or I. How would we respond if Jesus said that directly to us? This story sheds light on an important principle that every Christian must wrestle with: Following Jesus means following His way of living our lives, not just what is comfortable, makes sense or seems like “the most responsible thing to do.”
The Apostle Paul reminds the Church, “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20, ESV). Indeed, He has. Our whole-hearted obedience to do God’s will, as revealed in Scripture, will not just sometimes, but OFTEN, seem like foolishness in our natural mind; even to those around us; maybe even to other Christians. Yet, even if it does seem foolish to others, are we committed to follow God’s call…no matter what?
When we seek the Lord as to what His specific “Great Commission call” should look like (a goer, sender, mobilizer, etc), we need to pray with genuine openness to God’s call–whatever that might look like. Don’t assume just because you might never have received a clear call to go that you are automatically meant to stay and support. The Lord might be preparing you for a future that would surprise you. What is the posture of your heart when it comes to obeying God? Are you open to a radical leading?
We have a choice. Will we choose to live our lives based on what is considered responsible and honorable in the world’s eyes? Or will we choose a path that might seem unknown, unsafe or unlike anything we ever thought we might do—but one where God’s leading has become undeniable?
Jesus called his disciples to leave behind everything to follow Him, but he also gave them a promise. For everything we sacrifice for the Lord, He will multiply blessings back to us in abundance.
Pursuing a call to missions might feel foolish and risky. But the amazing benefits of serving the Lord as a missionary are far, far more than we can ever imagine.
Are you willing to pray and ask if the Lord wants YOU to “Go”?
“And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.”