This post is Part 4 in a five-part series titled:Read the introduction to this series here.
Read Part 1: Who is called to be a Missionary?
Read Part 2: What does it mean to be a "Follower of Jesus?"
Read Part 3: Ready and Willing to Accept the Call
As God often does, He's changed my course and has given me a new topic for today’s post. He has shifted the series around a bit, and I’m once again awed by His involvement. Tomorrow will be spent on the more practical/tangible aspects of living missionaly (how to prepare for a mission trip, how to support, how to be available, etc) while today I’m going to respond to some questions/comments made by some of you in this series. These are things I think so many of us have found ourselves thinking as well; so Thank You for being open enough to share with me!
“How do you know what God is calling you to do?"
My initial response is that God is calling you to live a life that follows after Him daily. Doing that will automatically lead you where He wants you to go.
I understand the heart behind this question as, “How do I know if what I’m feeling led to is really from God or if it’s from me? What if I don’t feel like I’m hearing anything? What if I kind of feel something but it doesn’t make sense, it’s not in my skill set, or I don’t know how to get started?”
I can’t tell you how many times I warred within myself and in prayer over whether or not a ministry or action step was something God had laid on my heart or whether it was something I just wanted to do.
My desire to live in Africa was one of those times. So was the two years I led worship at a small church (something I never saw coming). So was leading teams to Mexico for 5 years. And so was my move to Mexico. And so is adoption. They are all really good things. Most of them, God was leading me to after all. Others He wasn’t, others for a season, and others - still to come.
My answer to these questions is to “Say Yes.”
If you want to know where you can serve God, where He wants you, what He wants you to do, start praying. Every day. He'll speak to your heart. The answer may sound like something way outside your realm of possibility or skill set, but just say yes. Try it out.
And hey, if you get it wrong and it's not the direction/action He wants you to take, So what? At least you are pursing Him.
There is no failure in that.
A year from now, we could realize we had it all wrong and Mexico isn't where God was sending us, and I would in NO WAY feel like a failure for returning. Because, I just want to live my life willing and ready, always ready to pounce on whatever opportunity God gives us. I wasted too many of them due to fear and logic.
“But what if I feel like God is telling me to do something I’ve never done before? I’m too young in my faith. I’m under-qualified.”
This I can tell you with certainty -- so are the rest of us. We’re all too young in our faith! We’re all unqualified. But Jesus, based on his track record, hardly ever utilized the (quote) qualified (unquote).
Trust me, there were tons of Pharisee’s He could have chosen for His work. They knew the Old Testament inside and out. They studied it daily. Their life goal was to keep it’s every command for crying out loud! But who did He choose to use? Little ‘ol uneducated fishermen. He chose to dine with tax collectors and to stand up for the prostitute.
“Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to share those who are powerful. For God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)
When you pray, asking God how you can be involved in His work daily, what comes to mind? Don’t dismiss it. Having a joyful spirit can turn a life around - I’ve seen it. Being obedient in investing in the lives of people - kids, senior citizens, widows, orphans, the handicapped - that’s life changing. Traveling to another city, state, or country to tell a stranger that you love them, but that Christ loves them more - it earth shattering... And not only for the people God sends you to, but it changes YOUR life as well.
So do it. Sign up for that ministry at church. Buy a meal for a family in need. Sign up for that mission trip!
Here’s the thing, guys. God doesn’t need us. He wants us. He wants us to experience life alongside Him. He wants us to learn and grow and heal through that.
Yes. I’m moving to Mexico in a matter of weeks. And it’s my hope that the Lord will use me to impact the lives of people there. But I’d be foolish to think that’s the only reason He’s sending me. No. Life change will happen within me as well. Maybe even more so. The gospel isn’t only a story we tell to an unbeliever. It’s a story we need over and over again in our own lives. To hear it again, to tell it again, to experience it again.
Lord, oh Lord thank you. Thank you for redirecting my steps in this series and speaking to me through those who have joined me this week. Together, we suss through this thing called life trying to figure out how we can live it for You and You alone. God, we ask that you reveal a path to us - one where we can be used for Your glory. We want to be used. And when you give us that next step, may we be obedient in it. When fear and logic try to lead us astray, remind us that you choose what the world would consider foolishness to point to You. It’s the only way to keep us from pointing to ourselves.
Join the conversation! I'd love to hear from you. I will respond to all comments both in the comment forum and via email (when applicable).