I know it’s been a while since the first post, but even though I wrote this post on schedule, it has taken me several days to get it posted due to work and that unavoidable demand of the human body (sleep).
Of all the millions upon millions of delightful (and some that are not so delightful) experiences, objects, places, and ideas that fill our universe and define our existence, only three intangible things are definitely permanent – God, His word, and the spiritual beings He has created. Scholars may debate the permanence of matter and atheists may proclaim that nothing is really eternal, but as Christians we know that God and His word will never cease to exist and that we as spiritual beings are only experiencing the first stage of life during our time on earth.
So if everything will eventually be burned up as the Bible says (see II Peter 3:10) and the earth and everything we know will pass from the memory of man (see Revelations 21:4) what is the point of picking a worthy summit to scale anyway? Why not simply enjoy what this life has to offer for the limited time that the deal is available? Why not go for the scenery and the appeal of the trail? After all if you don’t fulfill your dreams and follow your heart, who will?
Did you know that there are approximately 7.06 Billion people alive on the face of the earth right now? Of these 7 billion people, almost 3 billion have never heard the Gospel and likely never will; they are what missions organizations call ‘the unreached’. Did you know that a little over 64,000 of these unreached people die every day? Are you aware of the fact that almost 2,700 of these people, who have never heard what you have known all your life, die every hour? Using simple arithmetic that boils down to forty-five men, women, and children dying every minute without having their sins washed away by the blood of the Lamb. Did you know that in the time that it has taken you to read these three paragraphs, approximately thirty souls have stepped into an eternity of torment in hell? I know it makes me cringe. I don’t like to think about it either, it is so much easier to leave that evangelizing stuff to the missionaries who have been divinely called to such action and just try to live a normal life here. After all, God put me where He wanted me, right?
Well since you obviously believe (as I do) that God put you where He put you for a reason, it logically follows that He has a purpose for you, a plan for your life. Lets take a look at some Bible verses which might shed some light on what that purpose might be…
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” – Deuteronomy 10:12-13
“…And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8b
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments for this is man’s all.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13
Great! So now we know what our purpose is; to love, fear, and obey our God. So what does it mean to fear God? (look up Proverbs 8:13) What are God’s commands for us? (By the way, God never gives us instructions, only commands. Instructions are negotiable, commands are not.) Four of the first five books of the Bible are filled with statutes and principles, as are several later books like Proverbs, but Jesus boiled it all down to two simple statements in the Gospel of Matthew:
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” – Matthew 22:37-39
After this, Jesus added only one more command before he ascended to heaven where He currently sits at the right hand of the Father. Lets see what He had to say;
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18 -20
That’s it. Now you know. You know that you are not a random accident or cosmic byproduct, you are a created being with a purpose for existing. You know what that purpose is and you know that literally Billions of people don’t know any of this and because they do not know God and trust in Him alone for their Salvation they will die – some 2,700 of them or so in the next hour – and spend eternity apart from the God that they have not trusted in or Worshiped. You know God. And now you know that God has entrusted the precious beautiful story of His Son’s sacrifice to your hands and you should know by now that God expects you – commands you to share it with those who need to hear it. Ignorance may be bliss, but if you have read this far you are no longer ignorant. You are now fully accountable for what you do, and where you go.
So where are you going? Why are you going there? What is your compass? What summit are you going to choose? How are you going to scale it? If this all sounds rather scary and sacrificial that’s because it is. Nobody said this was going to be a picnic. This isn’t for the weak at heart who really don’t like talking about Jesus anyway. Those folks in Wal-Mart that are living without Jesus can be downright frightening to witness to, and it only gets worse from there – wait till the Lord sends you to Syria on a humanitarian mission and you wind up sharing the Gospel with a ISIS fighter with an AK-47 who wants to know why you’re not a worshiper of Allah. But help is only a prayer away; remember how Jesus concluded His last command? “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
This is not a missions recruitment ad. This is your reality in Christ. I am not going to tell you to go kneel by your bed and tell the Lord that you’re going to Africa. I’m not even trying to tell you that God wants you to buy a plane ticket for Laos, or maybe Mozambique. I am laying forth a challenge – throwing down the gauntlet, drawing a line in the sand. God wants you to proclaim the truth about Him and what He has done everywhere. God wants you to be a missionary – at the local farmers’ market, at the grocery checkout line, at the nursing home, at your next family reunion, and yes in all the world. God wants you to shine so brightly and be so salty that no matter where you are, people will know that you are not normal. He wants you to be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within you and to be quick to seize opportunities to tell again the story of His righteousness and love and our sinful state. It does seem rather anti-strategic, though, for us to be focusing primarily on reaching a culture that has unlimited access to the truth when 42% percent of the world’s population has yet to hear it for the first time. We are to be missionaries wherever we are, but we are commanded to seek out those who have not yet heard and make an absolute priority of teaching them the Gospel. There are many who cannot go as missionaries to other lands due to circumstances (medical, family, etc.) God put you where you are – He expects you to serve Him where you are. Many of those who follow our blog though, are young and have yet to decide which mountain to climb. God put you where you are too, choose a summit that will draw You and everyone who is ‘stumbling to the slaughter’ closer to our Savior. Our primary reason for existing is to glorify God – by loving Him, walking in fellowship with Him, worshiping Him, and proclaiming who He is and what He has done.
I know that this is heavy stuff. I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy to write these posts, but I also knew that it was absolutely necessary. When I sat down to write part one on New Year’s night, I was only intending to write a paragraph or two about thanking the Lord for the blessings of last year and about making worthy resolutions for this year. But I prayed and asked the Lord, like I always do when writing for an audience, “Lord guide and direct me and give me the words You want me to write.” You are reading the answer to that prayer. Believe me, it’s not fun to write something that messes up everybody’s plans or leads people to wonder if you’re a radical nut, but this is something that God has put on my heart for some time and I am passionate about it. 2,000 years ago Jesus told His disciples that the fields where ripe for the harvest and told them to pray that the Father would send out laborers to gather it in. O’ that every believer had a heart to proclaim the ‘old, old story’ till every knee shall bow and every tongue confess the Jesus is Lord!
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’ ” – Romans 10:14 -15
It is a new year and there is no better time for a fresh start or firing up an engine that has run out of steam. So what mountain will you climb? What peak will you conquer? What frontier will you brave? How will you impact the world for your Savior? What will your life mean for eternity?
Where are you going?