What is needed far serving God in a foreign land in what has been described as a “post Christian” era? An answer is0 suggested in this first of a series of articles by Clark Logan.
God is still calling and sending to distant lands those He has chosen and equipped to tell out the glad tidings of a loving Savior. Perhaps He is calling you. Each person’s call is unique; a divinely arranged blend of circumstances and experiences, mental impressions and spiritual convictions add up to one unavoidable conclusion: God has been speaking to me and I must obey.
If He is calling you to overseas missionary service you may find that many things, even good and legitimate things, are prompting to hold you back. Some may question the wisdom of your exercise. There comes that point, however, when you know before the Lord that delayed obedience would be disobedience, and you cannot stay. It is time to get ready and go. Godly elders and friends will recognize this too and encourage you to be on your way.
A believer, stepping out in service, does not go alone. When the Lord commissioned His disciples, He reminded them that all authority was His, and He promised that He would be with them all the days (Matt 28:18-19). His commission has not been revoked, and His Presence has not been withdrawn.
The Lord on His Throne
Looking out on the world today one could easily become discouraged. Political uncertainty, financial instability, moral delinquency and spiritual apathy are just some of the indicators which show that the world has no answers for a hopeless situation. This prevailing, global turmoil could be likened to the boiling pot that Jeremiah saw (Jer 1:13). The prophet was roused, however, from being just a helpless spectator. He was to prepare himself, rise up and speak the word of the Lord (Jer 1:17). Despite a seemingly impossible task, he was reminded that “a glorious high throne from
the beginning is the place of our sanctuary” (Jer 17:12). When we come before that throne we can see things in a totally different light and take heart.
In the urgent task committed to the prophet the Lord promised His power, protection and presence: “I am with thee to deliver thee” (Jer 1:9). Jeremiah’s message was a solemn one of divine judgment, but there were wonderful gleams of light, all the brighter for the surrounding gloom. “I have loved you,” said the Lord. “I have drawn you. I will build you again” (Jer 31:3-4). They would repent, return and rejoice (30:10,15,19).
The love of God for sinners is unchanging, and He continues to call out of the nations a people for His Name. We rejoice that the victory has already been won, and the final outcome is not in doubt. God is still on the throne and in full control. From that place of sovereign authority He commands us to go forth today and tell out the good news of salvation to all. Dare we disobey and risk standing before Him empty handed in that coming day of review?
The Laborers in His Field
A number of interesting word pictures highlight the responsibilities of the Lord’s servant in His work.
1. Slaves (1 Cor 7:21-23)
Serving the Master requires obedience. “I have no rights; I make no conditions; I am a chattel that lives. But ah! With it and in it and through it, I am my Master’s friend” (C.H.G. Moule). We who were unworthy runaways have been elevated to the service of bond slaves, and only in a humble and ready obedience will we be profitable.
2. Witnesses (Acts 1:8)
Declaring the truth of God demands faithfulness in speaking of Him. Those first preachers exalted the crucified and risen Savior. They spoke with boldness and conviction of the things they had seen and heard, preaching Christ and not themselves, so that He might increase and they might decrease.
3. Vessels (2 Cor 4:7)
Bearing divine treasure demands purity. In ourselves we are only frail humans and no more valuable than a clay pot. But the vessel, no matter how lowly, must be dean to bear such precious and holy truth.
4. Farmers (2 Cor 9:6)
Sowing seed calls for diligence. The gospel seed is to be dispersed widely and sown bountifully. As to motive, the seed is to be sown spiritually so as to reap eternal results. Many have sown with tears of love; others have sown for their own ends. Each has its own harvest.
5. Fishermen (Matt 4:19)
Catching fish is a task in which patience is essential, and a good fisherman knows how to work quietly and persistently without splashing about. We will only be effective as we learn to follow His instructions. The world is teeming with those who have not had the gospel. There is no remote danger of over fishing.
6. Builders (1 Cor 3:10-15)
The construction of a building requires a strong foundation, the best materials and the utmost care in their use. It is foolish to attempt otherwise, for sooner or later, any inherent weakness will become apparent and the building will be condemned.
7. Soldiers (2 Tim 2:3-4)
Defending the truth calls for boldness, steadfastness and skill in handling spiritual weapons. The two edged sword of the Word of God is good for attack and defense and should be used with confidence. Good soldiers travel light, unencumbered by nonessentials and do not waste ammunition on fighting their fellows.
8. Ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20)
The Lord’s representatives should demonstrate a likeness and loyalty to Him at all times. Our commission is from Him; our commitment is to Him; our communion is with Him. During His absence from this world, we have been entrusted with His affairs of state upon earth.