19 November 2010 by romanin
I wonder if we have in some ways intentionally and in other ways unknowingly erected lines of defense against the global purpose God has for our lives. It’s not uncommon to hear Christians say, “Well, not everyone is called for foreign missions,” or more specifically, “I am not called for foreign missions.” when we say this, we are usually referring to foreign missions as an optional program in the church for a faithful few who apparently are called to that. In this mind-set, missions is a compartmentalized program of the church, and select folks are good at missions and passionate about missions. Meanwhile, the rest of us are willing to watch the missions slide shows when the missionaries come home, but in the end God has just not called most of us to do this missions thing.
But where in the Bible is missions ever identified as an optional program in the church? We have just seen that we were all created by God, saved from our sins, and blessed by God to make His glory known in all the world. Indeed, Jesus himself has not merely called us to go to the all nations; He has created us and commanded us to go to all nations. We have taken this command, though and reduced it to a calling–something that only a few people receive.
I find it interesting that we don’t do this with other words from Jesus. We take Jesus’ command in Matthew 28 to make disciples of all nations, and we say, “That means other people.” But we look at Jesus’ command in Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give your rest,” and we say, “Now, that means me.” We take Jesus’ promise in Acts 1:8 that the Spirit will lead us to the ends of the earth, and we say, “that means some people.” But we take Jesus’ promise in John 10:10 that we will have abundant life, and we say, “That means me.”
In the process we have unnecessarily (and unbiblically) drawn a line of distinction, assigning the obligations of Christianity to a few while keeping the privileges of Christianity for us all. In this way we choose to send off other people to carry out the global purpose of Christianity while the rest of us sit back because we’re “just not called to that.”
Every saved person this side of heavy owes the gospel to every lost person this side of hell. We owe Christ to the world– to the least person and to the greatest person, to the richest person, and to the poorest person, to the best person and to the worst person. We are in debt to the nations. Encompassed wit this debt, though, in our contemporary approach to missions, we have subtly taken ourselves out from under the weight of a lost and dying world, wrung our hands in pious concern, and said, “I’m sorry. I’m just not called to that.”
The result is tragic. A majority of individuals supposedly saved from eternal damnation by the gospel are now sitting back and making excuses for not sharing that gospel with the rest of the world.
But what if we don’t need to sit back and wait for a call to foreign missions? What if the very reason we have breath is because we have been saved for a global mission? And what if anything less than passionate involvement in global mission is actually selling God short by frustrating the very purpose for which He created us?
-excerpt from Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (May, 2010), by David Platt
This book is now on my list of books to read. I have had a ton of conversations with people about this exact topic and have questioned the term “calling” and how people define it.
Think about it. Go back to Scripture and read it, think about it. Then think about the American Christian culture you see today. It is not a reflection of Scripture in many areas. Books like David Platt’s book have been written time and time again, but a lot of times the authors do not use Scripture as their main premise for writing. They use Scripture as a starting point to argue some other practical point that they have derived from Scripture. But going back to Scripture, using it as the main premise for writing, we see that indeed, we pick and choose what we want to implement into our lives. We turn verses that are actually commands for Christian living into suggestions for Christian living. Those verses that are too difficult for us to live out because they will make us different than our fellow Americans, the social group around us, are thrown out and we are content with just being a middle of the road Christian who follows the biblical teaching we are comfortable with.
We are scared of being different.
We are scared of being radical.