Wow! What a great weekend.
This weekend was the Youth in Mission 2012 retreat. It focused on raising awareness of missions and opportunities to serve within the church. It was here, one year ago, that I first felt a pull from God into the mission field. Now one year later, God is at work again. I attended this time as a chaperone. However, God is not done speaking to me yet. Again, I felt the invitation from God to serve in cross-cultural missions. The weekend’s message centered on the parable of the rich man found in Luke 18:18-23. In this parable, Jesus asks a man to give up his wealth then follow Him. At first glance, it looks as though wealth is money. But, money isn’t really the problem. The problem is that this man was holding onto something that separated Him from growing closer to God. So in actuality, the lesson is simple. If there is something hindering your spiritual growth, remove it. So what is it? For me, I know exactly what “it” is. My own ambition and self-will are stealing my attention, which belongs solely to Christ.
Since serving in Argentina last year, a lot has entered and exited my mind. Of course, I have joyful memories and lasting friendships. But over the last few months, I have contemplated my “call to missions.” I wasn’t even sure what that means. I was scared. Scared that God was calling me out of this life that I had fairly tight reigns on and into the world to preach the gospel. So what did I do? I ran. I ignored this discovery phase with things of this world. I worked harder to achieve materialistic goals and rewards. I thought that by achieving more success, I could convince myself that my ways are better than the Lords. They are not.
Several days ago in my devotion, I read through Genesis 22. In this passage, God asks Abraham to sacrifice something. Something of great value, his own son. The things in my life, that I don’t want to let go of, are not nearly as important as a child. They don’t compare. But God asked Abraham to sacrifice something, and Abraham was obedient. For those who don’t know the story, God stopped Abraham from killing his son. It was merely a test of faith. And the following verse says that “Because of your obedience, I will bless you.” Wow. Isn’t that great?
If the weekend couldn’t get any better. Sunday morning I arrived at Elk River Nazarene Church for worship band and choir practice. To my amazement, the choir sang, “Use Me,” by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. It could not be any clearer. “Take my hands, Lord, and my feet. Take my heart, Lord, speak through ME.”
My prayer is to have the strength as Abraham did. To let it go, and let God. For that is when things will start happening. When I let go of my reservations and doubt and fear and own self-ambition, then, I can follow God.