From Restoration Church Member, Whitney K:
Today I listened to Divine Sovereignty: The Fuel of Death-Defying Missions, a sermon delivered by David Platt at the recent Together for the Gospel conference. In this sermon, Platt demonstrated that a high view of the sovereignty of God fuels death-defying missions. He articulated the theological truths of our God who is in control of all things, the hopeless state of man without Christ, the glorious news of our hope in Christ, and what the gracious, powerful atonement means for all people of this world. I would fail to convey these truths as faithfully and Biblically as Platt did, so I won’t try; however, I will urge you to listen to the message here.
To list my reactions to the sermon would take days. Suffice it to say, I tend to be one of those people who are easily stirred, and must be cautious to see that I am not only stirred, but also changed. That said, I was not at all surprised to find my heart moved when Platt spoke of the 2 billion unreached people in the world or that I was quickly inspired to google missions opportunities, asking myself “what are you still doing here?”
I have been praying about my own next steps as I expect to finish my graduate degree in the coming months, and earlier this week had the opportunity to discuss this with my pastor. I have had a desire to go for some time now (though I have to admit, my motives are not always unselfish), and so have been trying to work through what that may look like for me. On the one hand, I am single, without children, and so am in many ways unhindered to pursue missions in hard places. On the other hand, like many young people, I have student loans. To make a long story short, through prayer and godly counsel, I feel confident in saying that going now, under my current circumstances, would likely be forced and not honoring to God. For better or worse, I have student loans. These are my obligations, and I believe that paying debt is godly (Romans 13:7, Psalm 37:21). Barring a large check in the mail, or another act of God, I cannot pay that debt if I go now.
So what does this mean? Is this a cop-out to let someone else go? An opportunity to rest easy while others pursue this mission God has graciously and lovingly called us to be a part of? My absolute, and emphatic answer is “no”. I believe that this means while I may stay in Washington, DC, I am still without a doubt called to be part of God’s sovereign work among the nations. I believe this is true for all Christians, though of course in different ways (Platt affirms the need for local ministry clearly at the start of his message). For now, I think this means I have to ask myself some tough questions. What does it look like to work on behalf of this mission while I’m here? How should I be preparing to go, if and when God allows? Here are my initial thoughts:
- Am I faithful to fast and pray on behalf of the lost, especially those who have no access to the Gospel and the hope of Christ (Luke 10:2)?
- Am I wisely and generously giving on to see the Gospel spread to unreached people?
- Am I stewarding my income to aggressively pay off those loans that would keep me from going?
- Am I cultivating the personal holiness that honors God regardless of where I am?
- Am I preparing my heart, body, and mind to serve in difficult places, should the opportunity present itself?
- Do I have a love for people that is deeply rooted in devotion and love for God? When I pray for the lost, or try to work among them, will that be out of pity, guilt, or out of a core desire to Jesus be worshipped among the nations as He deserves? These are questions that point to the preparation of my heart.
- Am I conditioning my body to serve in not just spiritually difficult, but physically grueling, places? As Platt reminds us, there is a reason unreached people groups are unreached—it is difficult, and I am foolish to neglect physical preparation.
- Is my mind equipped to serve well and stay strong in faith in the midst of challenges? There are ways to “do missions” well, and ways to do it poorly. I should make every effort to know these. Are there languages I could learn? Do I know scripture? Is the Word of God imprinted on my heart in mind so that it can be quickly called upon?
With most of these questions, the answer is “no” or “not enough”. I have been convicted and challenged, and by the grace of God, I will strive to be both stirred and changed for the glory of God among all nations. My brothers and sisters in Christ, would you pray along with me, and hold me accountable?
Finally, what about you? I have to humbly ask that in light of this mission, are you also considering whether you should go, and how God may want you live in light of that—whether the answer is “yes”, “no”, or “not yet”.