To go or not to go, part three...

Picking up where we left off yesterday in our discussion of questions about serving in missions when others caution you against going, there are a couple more questions to ask...

3. Is this naivete or a calling?

In Paul's speech to the Ephesian elders, he states, "And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me." (20:22-23)  Paul was not naive about his mission.  He was going, knowing that there were assured dangers ahead.

We are most often not going to find ourselves in this situation.  We may know that there is the possibility of danger in our mission, but the assurance Paul had is rare.  Yet we must not blindly ignore the calls of someone who tells us of the inherent danger in a situation.

When we hear of the powerful works of God and the great destinations offered, we can be really excited about the opportunity to go to a far away state or land.  And yet our desire must be proclaiming the greatness of Christ to those who haven't heard and not just a sanctified vacation.  Missions may very well take us places we find are beyond words and to people who have an awe inspiring effect on us.  However, the allure of the opportunity must not close our eyes and cause us to make an unwise decision.  God's call is of primary importance, the place will be beautiful, whether it is across the street or across the globe.

4. Why don't they want you to go?

We must not make the assumption that those who do not want us to go are against God's call in your life.  At the same time, they are not necessarily a prophet, speaking God's direction for you.  A good question for us to ask is their motive for telling you not to go.

Those who loved Paul did not want him to go because they knew he was in danger.  Their concern was for his life.  He as dear to them and losing him would cause them great pain.  And yet they also had a genuine desire to see the Kingdom of God advanced and the work of the Spirit to continue. Through their tears they sent Paul to fulfill God's call on his life.

Not everyone is able to put their personal feelings secondary to a desire to see Christ's name proclaimed.  It may be for many reasons.  If we know this, then we may have insight as to why they may not want us to go.  We find Christ's command in coming to bear here: ""If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."  A love for His glory is primary.

I in no way believe that asking these questions will be easy or enable us to make a quick decision.  I do however believe that when they are discussed and prayed over earnestly, God will direct, Christ will be honored, and the Spirit will move through us to reach our neighborhoods and the nations.

Posted by Jack | at 8:00 AM