To go or not to go...part two

In last week's post, I looked at the struggle found in making the decision as to whether or not you should go on mission (read either short-term or long term) when you are being counseled not to go by people who genuinely care about you.  Serving as a student pastor, I have face this on several occasions. Parents who are committed to Christ are faced with a difficult decision when their child wants to go and serve in a distant place.  Some places that even brought somewhat of a danger.

All believers are called to be on mission in the context in which God has placed them (Matthew 28:18-20, Colossians 4:5-6, 1 Corinthians 7:21-24). Not everyone is called to go and be a part of every opportunity (3 John 5-8).  We must see to make our decisions based on direction from Scripture and from much prayer.  In that light there are a few questions that I believe are good for us to ask if we find ourselves in this kind of situation.

1. Are you under your parent's authority?

Our four-year old has memorized three verses of scripture.  One of them is "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right."  Paul goes on to instruct children that honoring their father and mother was the first commandment with a promise.  Parents have been given the responsibility and privilege by God to teach and raise their children in a way that they would know and love God with all they are. This would include being faithful to the call He has placed on their lives.

The key to this passage, especially as it relates to our topic, is the phrase "in the Lord." Parents must not stop their children from being faith out of sheer worry or fear. To do so is to ignore Paul's admonition to fathers in to "not provoke their children to anger." At the same time, those under their parent's authority must not ignore their parents direction simply because they "really, really, really want to go!"

When this type of situation comes, parents and child should spend time together talking through concerns and desires and praying earnestly together.  Both sides must be willing and open to God changing their perspective and be willing to submit to his leadership.  In the end, parents must seek God's leadership and make the decision they believe is what God would have them do, even if this is unpopular.  If a parent has made that decision, trust that God will honor your desire to serve and open a door that both you and your parents will see as a prefect opportunity.

2. Is this a good idea or God's idea?

A desire to share the Gospel is a good thing.  Period.  Yet there are times when we desire to go one direction when God would have us to go in another direction.  In Acts 16:6-7, Paul and his companions are stopped from going into two different regions by the Spirit.  Upon first reading, this may seem somewhat strange to us.  Why did God stop them from going and spreading the Good News?  We find the answer in verses 9-10.  God wanted them to go to Macedonia, so he sent Paul a vision.

Most of the time, God does not speak to us in visions.  Yet he does use His Word and His church.  It may be that God is using those who are urging you not to go as a means of redirecting your focus and energy.  If their counsel is both biblical and saturated with a desire for the glory of Christ among the nations, we would be fools to pay no attention.  Wisdom would lead us to at least consider if their counsel is God's way of moving us from a good idea to His idea.  It may actually be God's way of confirming the call in our lives as we hear their counsel, pray passionately, and still feel compelled to go.

Tomorrow I will post two more questions and some brief closing thoughts

Posted by Jack | at 8:30 AM


caulfieldkid said...

This post goes along with something ive been thinking about/in discussion with others about. We need to talk soon. Hit me up when you get a chance.