I’ll never forget the first time I ever shared the Gospel with someone. I was on my first mission trip, in Jamaica and I was between my junior and senior year of high school. I was there with another lady to lead a week-long Vacation Bible School for almost a hundred children. There had been a young girl that had stood out to me all week long. On one of our last days there, I went up to her as she sat with all her friends in the back of that little church. I remember them staring at me and my feeling so completely awkward. But I knew the Lord wanted me to share with her about who Jesus was and what He had done for her. My little 17-year-old self, started talking about how God created us, and we rebelled, how He wanted to have relationship with us and He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, that it was only through a relationship with Jesus that we could be forgiven and have access to the Father, that we had been created to worship Him and live for Him. I prayed for her and her friends. And that was it. No decision to give her life to Christ. Just a simple conversation that I felt was so awkward.
A few years later, I received a letter in the mail. It was from this young girl whom I had shared the Gospel with in Jamaica. She wrote to tell me that she had given her life to Christ and that she was now attending and serving in the Church. She thanked me for telling her about Jesus and how she had listened to every word I shared with her all those years ago. I cannot tell you how blown away I was to receive that letter from her. What a gift?! I never saw her again, but I do know that I will see her again one day when we both get to Heaven.
This week, many of us have been reminded of how frail life truly is. It’s easy for us to go about our days not really living in light of eternity. We keep ourselves busy and distracted with the things of this world, that we forget that this is not our forever home. But then there are moments that bring us back to reality and sober us up to the fact that we are living for something much bigger than who we are in our little world.
Paul says in Acts 20:24,
“I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
Paul was facing prison and hardships, but still he went. The Spirit compelled Him to go- not knowing what would happen but knowing that God had called Him, and he had a purpose in declaring the name of Jesus. Paul knew that his life paled in comparison to the glory of God and in magnifying His name.
I don’t know about you, but for me, there are times that I am simply worn out from my day and even life. I’ve never faced prison or hardships of the same magnitude as Paul. But sometimes, the thought of reaching out to that one friend who might need an encouraging word or heading out for a walk with my family so that we can intentionally engage in eternal conversations with our neighbors or even considering making sacrifices, so we can go on a mission trip as a family- it all seems overwhelming. Just a bit too much. But as I read the words of Paul, I am encouraged and inspired in my spirit to press on. To not give up. To continue to run my race and finish the work that God has called me to. To remember that I have been created with a specific purpose. God wants to use me to be a part of His great mission.
The same is true for you. He has planted you right where you are in the exact season of life, so that you might leverage your talents and resources and time for the sake of the Gospel.
This past Sunday, we were reminded in Pastor Aaron’s sermon of the Enemy’s plan. We were reminded that he wants to weaken our confidence in God’s word. He wants to put doubt in our minds. He wants us to question the goodness and generosity of God. When it comes to living on mission, we think that if we step out to obey God’s Word, that somehow, we are going to miss out or be slighted somehow. We think that it’s a sacrifice to serve the Lord, to go on mission, to give of our time and ALL that money. Who uses vacation time to share the Gospel? Who raises large amounts of money for a week on a mission trip? Those funds could go to fixing up that bathroom we’ve been wanting to remodel or that trip to Disney that we’ve been waiting to take. Not that a bathroom remodel or trip to Disney are bad because God wants us to enjoy life. At the same time, He also wants us to know what a joy and privilege it is to serve Him. It’s an honor to be a part of declaring His goodness and grace to the nations. It brings us life. It nourishes our spirit in a way that other things can’t.
I can only speak to this because I have experienced it firsthand. Receiving the letter from that little girl in Jamaica all those years ago, gave me life and energy and excitement about sharing the Good News. I knew that there was more to live for than creating a nice little life for myself or my family one day. There is Eternity. It’s not some far off idea, but it is a reality. There are lives that hang in the balance and are waiting to hear the glorious, great news that there is a Savior who loves them and died for them and wants to give them an abundant life. We were challenged on Sunday to be sober-minded, to be watchful of the Enemy’s schemes. This is true in our personal walk with the Lord, but also as we step out to declare His name and share the Gospel, let us not allow the Enemy to distract us or make us think we are too busy or stir up fear or doubt the call of our Heavenly Father. He asks us to walk in obedience of His Word- to complete the task of the Lord Jesus- to testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
What seems awkward and uncomfortable to us, is the very thing that God wants to use. He can take an awkward conversation in the back of a little church and turn it into a changed life, forever marked by the grace and love of Jesus- for all Eternity.