Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Light Bulb!

I get it. I think I'm finally starting to get it.

For the past two years, I've known without a shadow of a doubt that I am called to mobilization - training the Church to be involved in God's global purpose for the sake of the Unreached, those who don't have access to the Gospel.

For at least the past year, I've had this acute inner struggle, wrestling with the fact that God has not called everyone to reach the Unreached. I came to grips with this fact at Semester, realizing that God calls us to different things. I'm not called to fix all the problems of America and reach the Unreached, but God will accomplish all His purposes, working through each member of the Body.

Not gonna lie, I've still been frustrated (to varying degrees) with a lot of people. I've been frustrated with the people and ministries that are focused only on reviving America. I've been frustrated with the people who do missions, but in places that already are reached with the Gospel and having a multiplying church. I've been frustrated with God, wondering why He keeps calling people to places that already have the Gospel.

(I’m very aware there isn’t (or shouldn’t be) any sacred/secular divide. The scope of redemption is the scope of creation, and therefore we are called to be agents of redemption in every area of life. At the same time, it seems we should have a particular urgency in taking the Gospel to those who have no access to it. But I digress.)

However, I'm seeing now that my whole vision and focus has been misplaced, therefore my whole perspective has been skewed. In other words, while pursuing good work for God, I've been pursuing idolatry.

My primary focus had been on the secondary motivation of missions - the people. Yeah, there are 1.7 billion who have never heard the name of Jesus. Yeah, there are 6500 people groups that are completely unreached with the Gospel. Yeah, there are tens of thousands of kids who died today because of completely preventable causes, like starvation and unclean water. Yeah, there are billions of people who are lost and dying without knowing Jesus.


The point is this: God's glory!

I've heard that all my life. I've been taught that in a dozen different ways by all the people who have influenced my life. Somehow I've never REALLY understood it until now. Maybe I haven't really understood what it means to "glorify God." Sure, I know the catechism. The chief end of man is to glorify God and/by enjoy/ing Him forever.

It's all about God's glory! The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the seas! (Habakkuk 2:14) God's glory is the primary motivation for missions, for everything we do!

Every Christian has the same calling: to know Christ, and out of this relationship and a passion for His Name, show His glory to the world. Love God and because of that, love people.

If people were the main motivation, then my frustration with those not going to the Unreached would be rightly founded. But they're not, and it's not. God's glory is the motivation, and this calling unifies us as the Body of Christ, even though we each live this out in a different way. Therefore the person who goes into American politics is just as valid in his ministry as the person who goes to people who have never heard the name of Jesus (assuming both are obeying and glorifying God). It's not about location, going somewhere else or staying here! It's about knowing God, and out of that passion for His Name, faithfully fulfilling God's global purposes wherever you happen to be!

To be sure, God’s purposes are global. From Genesis 12 onward, we see that God blesses His people that they might bless all the nations of the earth. (Paul declares that this is the Gospel in Galatians 3:8.) Everything God does in redemptive history is for the glory of His Name, that all the nations might know Him (Ex. 9:16; I Sam. 17:46; Isa. 37:20, 49:6; Eze. 20:9; Dan. 9:15-9; Phil. 1:29; I Jn. 2:12). Ultimately, we know every tribe and tongue and nation will stand worshipping before the throne of God (Revelation 7:9).

Every Christian is commanded to be a part of this in some way. But it’s not about geography, where you live. It’s about obedience and submitting to the lordship of Christ. Whether I never leave Carrollton, Texas again, or I spend the rest of my days in Timbuktu, my calling remains the same as yours – to know and glorify God, that all the nations come to know His glory. We’ll live this out in different ways. God has given you a different focus (including location, vocation, passion, culture) than He has given me. But God will fulfill His global purpose, using each member of the Body for His glory.

No comments: