Rachel, BJU Alumnus
*If you have not read the first part of this post, click here.
NOTE: Rachel and her husband are long-time Frontline team members in East Asia. The three of us are also Tolkien fans, so receiving an article in which she draws on a scene from The Hobbit was not surprising to me. But what gripped me as I read it was the depth of its wisdom and the breadth of its application. Rachel wrote this with young adults in mind, but radical obedience is for all of us who take up our cross and follow the One who said, “Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).
So whether you desire to take Good News to Gospel-destitute places or you are counseling someone who is considering going, whether you are parenting or grand-parenting with a passion for Christ and the nations, or if you are taking a prayerful look at “Gospel leveraging” of your time, energy, and resources, there’s something here to challenge you, as it has me.
Tim Keesee, Frontline Missions International (www.frontlinemissions.info)
[This article was divided into two parts and published in the Fall 2019 and Christmas 2019 Frontline Missions International newsletter. Used with permission.]
My Bilbo Baggins allusion breaks down here. After that fateful fireside conversation, Bilbo’s mind and heart are captivated by this grand, exciting, deeply meaningful quest to rescue people. He is compelled by the glory of the work to get out of bed and join the journey. Don’t do what he did. Don’t attempt to sustain your soul on the cheese puff diet of the excitement and apparent glory of mission work. It won’t sustain you in the tough places. Look at Isaiah. As much as we dramatize his Isaiah 6 “missionary call” to go, that call is immediately followed by a description of apparent ministry failure. “Go . . . to people who will reject you and make their hearts harder and blinder.” “How long, Lord?” “Until everything is destroyed and devastated.” Inspiring, isn’t it? (There is a dearth of missionary songs about this portion of Scripture, by the way.)
God is clearly not attempting to recruit Isaiah based on the “wow” factor of the work. He compels him based on the “wow” factor of His holiness. He alone is truly holy, separate, unique, one-of-a-kind, utterly distinct in his beauty and perfections. The weight of His glory overflows and floods the earth with meaning. Yes, He offers Isaiah a life of shame and rejection; yet, He secures Isaiah in His love and lasting honor. Yes, God sets forth work that feels like waste and worthlessness; and yet, He brings Isaiah into His worthiness. Beneath and between every exhausting day ahead, there will be the exhilaration of the King’s unending grace and embrace.
Perhaps the most shocking thing about this whole passage is that Isaiah goes for it. We don’t know what he left behind, but the “dishes and doilies” Isaiah once held onto fell from view at the sight of his Savior. His vision of the Messiah and His world-wide work is still stunning. “Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you” (Isaiah 55:5).
Blessings to you as you dream and prepare and follow Him!
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The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.