What is the purpose of my writing for the Examiner? Why do I spend my limited time writing words that only a handful of people may ever read?
Does it stem from all that I read about the horrible things happening in this world? Does it stem from the thought, the belief, that I can make a difference…that I, through my writing, can somehow cause a reader to take action, to do something about the lost in this world? No.
The reason I write…Obedience and a desire to see His Glory.
I want to see God’s glory; to see His Kingdom come to this earth; to be a part of what He is doing and to let everyone I can know about it!
I’m not going to change one heart, one mind about the Great Commission and what our involvement should be. Only God can do that. And what is it, ultimately, that will cause our mission focus to grow…
– An increase in compassion and commitment for the lost in the Christian’s heart?
– An increase in information about the lost and encouragement to share Christ with them?
– Sharing statistics and stories about the plight of the lost without Jesus?
None of these. I believe it only comes through the Holy Spirit intensifying our passion and love for Christ so that His heart’s passion becomes ours as well. Jesus must be first in our hearts, not missions. When He is first, He will “break our hearts for what breaks His” and missions will become an intense passion.
We must set out hearts towards hope in God. Like Peter, if we look at all the “storms,” the horrible things going on in our world, we will begin to sink in sadness, weariness and despair. But when we fix our eyes on Jesus, when we understand the promises of Scripture and look for His hand in history and our modern times, we will see that the Kingdom of God is advancing and God is calling us to be a part of it.
Compassion for people, for the lost, for the orphan, for the persecuted church, is not what will ultimately compel and motivate us for mission. Only our hope for God’s glory and His kingdom will cause us to endure.
I have seen this transition of motivation for mission in my own life’s walk with the Lord. When one focuses on all the needs, hurts, and atrocities done to others in the world, the sadness, despair and depressiveness of the situation can be overwhelming. That’s what I did for quite awhile and there were times I was very discouraged by all that I was learning. Our human compassion can only take us so far before burnout sets in.
But as I grew closer to the Lord, spending time daily with Him in prayer and Bible study, constantly asking Him to make my heart more like His, He began to refocus my thoughts toward Himself rather than on the world.
I began to realize that the way to call people to mission concern is not to focus entirely on all the bad. They usually know the bad. But they often times have no idea about all the good that God is doing in the world. I began to see that the Bible doesn’t focus on the bad so much as it focuses on God!
For example, when Jesus was born, people in Judea already knew about the bad. The angels gave them “good news of great joy which will be for all the people” (Lk 2:10). Good news from God was the message and it should still be the message today.
Jesus won the victory on the cross! Our salvation is sure and His Kingdom will not be shaken (Heb. 12:28). We are not fighting the battles on our own. God is fighting the battles and asking us to join Him.
When we focus on God’s glory and His Kingdom rather than all the horrible problems in the world, we cease to look at missions as our arduous responsibility and instead see it as God’s responsibility and God is more than able! This type of focus, rather than depressing a person and overwhelming them with sorrow, instead strongly encourages them to seize the hope set before them…a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul (Heb. 6:18-19).
It’s not up to us and our meager efforts. God is inviting us to join with Him in pursuing His purpose in the world. He is the One who sets the agenda, grants the wisdom to proceed and gives the strength to endure. This is God’s world, His battle, His victory. With this type of motivation, “participation in God’s mission is no longer a somber duty. It becomes a joyous privilege and an adventure of passion and hope” (Tim Dearborn).