On a Mission
This past Sunday morning, I read I Corinthians 14-15. God reminded me that the gifts and resources He’s given to me (and my family) are not for my (our) own benefit, but for the purpose of building up the church and blessing others. And while the hope is that others will build you up as you in turn do for them, we ultimately need to trust in God for our reward. This is especially true since we may not always immediately reap the benefits of our efforts. Paul writes,
“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable.
Always work enthusiastically for the Lord,
for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
(chapter 15, verse 58)
|Mark Forthaus making friends in Kenya|
Then, during our worship service later that morning, the teacher preached from John 17, verses 6-19, and centered around verse 18, where Jesus prayed to the Father for the church,
“Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.”
Christianity is not about being secluded from the world, as completely separated. We are to be in the world, though not of it. Just as Jesus came to be and bring the Good News to us, we are called to likewise be and bring the Gospel to those around us. We can’t expect those who don’t know Christ to come to us; we must go to them. But how should we go? According to John 17, we will be:
- Distinct from the world (v. 6, 14), following God’s way, instead of the patterns that this world calls us to.
- Protected and safe (v. 11, 12, 15), knowing that God won’t always remove us from hardships, but will be near us through them.
- Consecrated (v. 17-19), as we have been called to be useful and devoted to God’s purposes.
It didn’t go unnoticed that both my devotional time (I Corinthians 14-15) and the sermon (John 17) were connected and meaningful, especially as Joanna and I are in a time of trying to discern what our next step is, for my job and for our family. In fact, this has been a big topic of conversation for us for over a year now, as we’ve talked about the Adventure that we believe God has for us, as I’ve written about before on our Children’s Ministry Blog. You can read more details here and here, but in short we believe our Adventure (or, Mission) is:
|At camp with 100 elementary kids|
It has been fun to dialogue about all this, to prayerfully discern how God has uniquely aligned our gifts, strengths, experiences, and passions. We know that we love and are pretty good at working with children, and leaders of children (both parents and volunteers). And it has been pretty obvious to know how this has played out with respect to our family, our church, and at times even the culture around us. What I’ve been praying about for at least 7 months is what it looks like to have an impact on our culture and on the world.
But we know that at just the right time, God will open up the doors that He wants us to take, so that He can use us (and the gifts He’s given us) to grow His kingdom.
After all, that is His mission.
Edit: You can read about where this one short conversation took us in The Surprisingly Simple Way You Can Start Living on Mission for God.