Saturday, November 3

Are you called to be a missionary?

Everyday I receive a devotional from Elisabeth Elliot. A recent post addressed the matter of how to know if one is being called to be a missionary.

Sometimes I am asked to speak to young people who are toying with the idea of being missionaries. They want to know how I discovered the will of God.

The first thing was to settle once and for all the supremacy of Christ in my life, I tell them. I put myself utterly and forever at His disposal, which means turning over all the rights: to myself, my body, my self-image, my notions of how I am to serve my Master. Oswald Chambers calls it "breaking the husk of my individual independence of God." Until that break comes, all the rest is "pious fraud."

I tell these earnest kids that the will of God is always different from what they expect, always bigger, and, ultimately, infinitely more glorious than their wildest imaginings.

But there will be deaths to die. Paul found that out--daily, he said. That is the price of following the way of the cross--of course. If our object is to save others we must be clear that we cannot save ourselves. Jesus couldn't either.

This scares people. Yet what is there to fear when Christ holds first place in our lives? Where, other than in the will of the Father, shall we expect to find significance, security, and serenity?

God's guidance for me has been so different from my early notions--I was to be a jungle missionary for life! The complete futility, humanly speaking, of all the language work I did (Colorado, Quichua, and Auca, for various reasons, all came to nothing) was a deep lesson in the supremacy of Christ. Whom had I set out to serve? May He not do as He wills, then, with His servant and with that servant's work? Is anything offered to Christ ever wasted? I thought about the sacrifices of Old Testament times. When a man brought a lamb, the priest laid it on the altar, slit its throat, and burned it. The offering, then, was accepted. But what was left of it?

Amy Carmichael, Irish missionary to India and author of forty books, taught me the implications of a living sacrifice. She wrote:

"'But these strange ashes, Lord, this nothingness,
This baffling sense of loss?'
Son, was the anguish of my stripping less
Upon the torturing cross?
Was I not brought into the dust of death,
A worm, and no man, I;
Yea, turned to ashes by the vehement breath
Of fire, on Calvary?
O son beloved, this is thy heart's desire:
This, and no other thing'
Follows the fall of the Consuming Fire
On the burnt offering.
Go on and taste the joy set high, afar,--
No joy like that to thee;
See how it lights the way like some great star.
Come now, and follow me."

I want to put it down right here that I have certainly "tasted the joy." I cannot imagine a more wonderfully blessed life than mine. Faithfulness of a loving Father--that's what I've found, every day of every week of every year, and it gets better. How I do hope those prospective missionaries will believe me!

6 comments:

Bryan Riley said...

I just keep reading 2 Corinthians 5 and think... what else are Christians called to?

GuyMuse said...

Bryan,

2 Cor. 5 indeed says it about as clearly as any passage...

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.

I count it a high privilege to be one of Christ's ambassadors through whom God himself makes his appeal to mankind to be reconciled to God.

Justin said...

This is pretty interesting stuff. I sometimes feel this call on my life. Right now, it's not financially possible for me to leave, and I'm not even really sure of the steps to take to do missionary work. I do know that when God says "it's time", He will also provide the way for me, despite whatever financial impossibilities my flesh is burdened by.

I can't think of a greater honor than serving Christ as a missionary, and I congratulate you for your work!

Your blog is awesome, and I can't stop reading it. Check out mine: www.awesomepurpose.com

Take care,
Justin

GuyMuse said...

Justin,

Thanks for stopping by and for the encouragement. Be faithful to the Lord where you are. Do the little things He brings into your path. If we can't be faithful to those things He says to do where we are, how can we imagine doing them in a distant land? I find that many disqualify themselves from faithful service by not doing the things Christ said to do in the place where they are at the moment.

I'll be sure and check out your blog!

Gabryel Arias said...

I've asked myself this questions many times. My heart is for the lost, although just as Guy stated at the beginning of this post ... he tells all young people "The first thing they must settle once and for all is the supremacy of Christ in their life."

It's intersting that upon first becoming born from above, one is so on fire for Jesus that all you want to do is tell the whole world about Him and that He does reign supreme. And then like in my case...you get "Churched" and indoctrinated with so many things, that we forget to do the things we did at first. And then little by little we depart from our first LOVE.

May we all who have this burden pray to the LORD of the harvest to work/create in us both the will and the action to do His good pleasure (Phl 2:13).

I humbly reguest everyones prayers who reads this post...that He may once again reign supreme over me. That I may seek to do only what pleases Him.

GuyMuse said...

Gabryel,

Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. One of the things we teach our people are the "3 D's" of the Devil: desanimo, distraccion, y division. Certainly one of the enemy's main tools is to DISTRACT us from our first love, and obedience to Christ's commands. I pray, as you ask, that Jesus would once again reign supreme in your life.