From time to time I encourage people to think about, “is it possible that God might be calling* them to overseas work”. I really don’t think God calls very many people to do overseas work, but He does call some and for whatever reason some are not responding. (or so I think) Some of our overseas work stories make life seem idyllic, like a south Pacific island, filled with nothing but life long vacation dreams. These stories may compel the readers to want to enjoy the “lifestyle” and be serving God at the same time. The stories may be true, but in reality the life long idyllic vacation dream is not true. Some of the stories just make it sound that way. Maybe its a subversive recruiting ploy. I was doing this with a friend this week and he was looking back at his life and questioning if he had made the right choices. I really wasn’t looking to make him feel guilty about his life choices.
I think most of us carry some regret for choices we have made. I know I do. Sometimes we call it guilt, but to me, that implies we did it on purpose. Some of our regrets were simple accidents. Just a bad choice that hurt someone or may have long lasting results. If you love God and are trying to follow the teachings of Jesus, then we receive forgiveness for our blunders. We should be able to forget it and move on. For many it works that way, for many it does not. The regret is great for providing job opportunities for counseling and psychiatrist. But, I digress…
Back to the original story. Here is the idyllic story I told my friend about our lives in Africa. “It is incredible to watch people look at their language written down in a book for the first time. They may know how to read and write in the main trade language, but to see their language written in a book is like seeing a new baby. They are excited and proud and handle it like a newborn. Then to hear them start to read their own language, stumbling at first, but then a new light in their eyes as they realize they can read their language. Then a glow on their face as they start to understand they are reading Gods words, in their own language. God does speak their language. It is incredible.
Doesn’t this story just make you want to be a part of something bigger than yourself? Part of a Team, working together to accomplish something great. Well you can be. Just go to http://www.Wycliffe.org and start the process… I’m doing it again aren’t I. I’m recruiting… so here is my excuse for doing it. It is a great life in the big picture. Its idyllic only in the sense that walking on hot coals is fun. Once the really hard parts are over, looking back at the accomplishment is great. This does not apply to just overseas work. It applies to all of our day to day life wherever you are and whatever you are doing. God is at work in everyone of us. Some of us are willing to be worked on, some are not yet. For me, “yet” is the key word. God loves every person on earth, without exception. Many don’t know that “yet”. For those of us who know God our assignment, whether we know it or not, is to help individuals understand that God loves them, just the way they are, no changes required. God wants a relationship with each person on earth and often God gives us the opportunity to help make this happen. Be it overseas or right next door in hometown America. Both are equally important. They are opportunities for us, not requirements. God does not need us to do anything for Him. He is all powerful. He could do it all in a snap. He gives us these opportunities for our own benefit. Yes, others are going to get good out of it as well, but that’s not the only reason God lets us do these things. Our lives are changed for the better each time we, “give in” help people and do that thing God is encouraging us to do. Please don’t mis-interpret this to mean we will get punished for not doing these things, it does not work that way.
All of these words are simply saying, enjoy life with God where you are. Don’t waste energy wishing you were somewhere else, doing something else. Do what is right in front of you to do and do it with gusto. Choose to enjoy these opportunities. Choose to step out in courage and do what you think God is asking you to do. Not in an impulsive way, but in a relationship with God, asking Him for direction, waiting until you have it and then grabbing the opportunity and doing it. Get walking on those hot coals.
* “Calling” – in this context the word “calling” is being used as a Christianese word inferring that God is encouraging one to do a specific thing. I really don’t like the Christianese vocabulary. It is exclusive. It may block understanding of those who are not “in the club” so to speak. But, this time I left it in my story just so I could include this paragraph about the Christianese vocabulary.