This morning I was listening to David Platt, a wonderful man. He was sharing stories about his time in several countries in which the government in-humanely tortures & kills people if they find out they're participating in any acts of Christianity. He was simply talking about his experience with people who are desperately hungry for teaching in the Word & ways of Christ. People who sneak to houses at 2 am just to worship together. Who know with every passing day it may very well be their last before they're caught. There was nothing about David's talk that was trying to evoke an emotion or commitment or desire or action. He was simply sharing what's going on in the underground churches. As an encouragement to us.
BUT....(aw. You were looking for that!)....
I have never been so convicted in my life.
If you know me, you know I have a large heart for Africa. At least what I've seen of two of its countries. I've been passionate about this for years. You probably know that I'd love to live and serve there. So you would THINK that I have an attitude of wanting to be a missionary. And in a way, I do. I'm okay with not having a career or home or newer car. I'm okay with not owning much. With moving halfway across the globe. Plenty of people I know and love are already doing it, have paved the way, and are the kind of brave hero I will never be. And that's fine. But I realized this morning that my heart is not as in tune with Jesus as I may have so arrogantly assumed at one point.
I'm willing to work full-time for a ministry here. To give myself to pouring out in order that other believers will go deeper. I'm also willing to pick up and move to Africa. I know I would love it. But here's the clencher.....it's because EVEN Africa is comfortable. It's third world. It's sad. It's a whole different culture & way of living. But it's comfortable. I can love and minister and freely be the hands of feet of Jesus if I wish. Awesome? Yes. But safe. I would not get more than a few curious inquiries about what the heck I was doing living amongst a different people. I can walk the streets openly, work with the people, live out the church. And I'd come home. I'd furlow. I'd eventually move back and settle here at some point. See? Safe.
I realized this morning Jesus is asking for my ALL. We always talk about that. We sing about it. We even say we've given Him our all. But have we? Honestly. Have we?!?! I haven't. In a flash today, I saw a side of myself I'd never payed attention to before. The Spirit asked me if I'd be willing to go "there". As I listened to David speaking, I pictured it. Having to pretend I was going for alterior motives simply to get into the country. Lying to government officials at customs. Smuggling in Bibles and discipleship materials. Being disguised and hid in cars in the middle of the night just to travel to a house somewhere with all the blinds pulled. Being escorted secretly into the the house where it was overflowing with 50 people Just thirsting for worship, teaching, discipleship. Doing church at 2:00 in the morning. Risking being caught each day. And if caught, tortured in ways more haneous than anything I've ever seen in the movies. Beat. Raped. Beat more. Burned. Cut. Starved. Thrown in a stone cell with no bed or toilet. Who knows......killed slowly. Because I taught Bible Study. Am I willing to do THAT with my life? Leave tomorrow and possible die this week? THAT is what Jesus wants from me. The willingness to say yes to THAT. Whether I actually do it or not is hardly the point in this moment. The point is seeing that Jesus said "Go & make disciples of ALL nations". The underground church is "all nations" & IS desperate for teachers. Kind of hard to argue with what Jesus says there. People can try telling me that it's not required of every believer, only especially "called" ones. I just have to say that I can't find anywhere in Scripture saying "Go if you're feeling extra called".
And don't tell me I'm young and shouldn't throw my life away. There is NOTHING more worth throwing my life into. NOTHING.
I may end up married with kids in Modesto. Homesteading on a ranch in Washington or Montana. Working for a big-haired mega ministry in Texas or Georgia. Living among the Voodoo culture of the french cooridor in New Orleans or the shacks of the Bayou. Running an orphanage in Africa. Who knows? I hope it's one of those things. But, Lord change my heart and mold me, I need to be willing to give him my A-L-L. He's big enough. That I know.