Sunday, April 25, 2010
Having All We Need?
This morning at church we were visited by missionary-evangelist Chuck Price of Durham Region, ON. His message was on the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and was intended to kick off a special Missions Conference.
The Commission is bracketed by two statements "All power is given unto me...Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." At the heart of it "Go ye".
He also drew our attention to Jesus' charge in Acts one, "ye shall be witnesses unto me". The emphasis was on being not doing, on exercising the mandate of a believer in one's ordinary travels, pursuits and encounters. Not to wait necessarily for the magical "prang" of ministry delegation in an official capacity. Just to get at it as we have been commanded.
This infers a specific command and calling to the individual; a burden that constrains him in particular; spoken from the heart of Jesus and accepted by the believer through no small portion of trial, exercise and definition. Then the job will get done by an unassuming, sincere member of the Body of Christ. One who, in true humility and obedience, can be entrusted with the power of the King.
Strong resolve or human compassion will not cut it. As Oswald Chambers has said, it is the "Go ye" which empowers and not the observation of the need by human eyes, howsoever well-intentioned.
One must also acknowledge that there is a time to stop navel-gazing for holiness sake, to stop assessing personal whiteness and just be about the business of the Kingdom, as one believes he is being led. Go with the cup of cold water, the word in season, the helping hand, the listening ear, the countenance which confesses "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able..."
Chuck was also quick to remind us that God has a sovereign plan in all of this which will be accomplished. "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied." (Isaiah 53:11)
Many of the listeners will remember the illustration which came out of one of Chuck's photographs on the overhead. It showed a slight rise in the land somewhere in Manitoba with numerous harvesting combines parked and idle. One lonely unit was operating up at the crest in stark relief against the prairie sky. The picture was captioned with words to the effect of "All that you need is ready". The message came into his spirit as he paused to observe, reflect and snap the photograph.
He comes to us as an evangelist, a missionary, a motivator. He intends to stir people up to get at it. He suggests that there is no further need of equipment. There has been enough feasting at the Gospel table here. (Incidentally, the Conference week sounds like a bunch of meals one more time.) We must push away from our plates and forks. Others are hungry or just plain ignorant. The enemies of today might be the faith partners and family of tomorrow.
But let us be cautioned that the remaining pre-requisites are the Lord's compassion and fear of the Lord. These are the keys which turn the ignition. These cannot be drummed up through self-will or committee activity. The enabling must come from on High. Plead for it to arrive...and soon!
Note: See also our earlier post entitled "Challenging Novokuznetsk"