If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Mt16:24
Our last child was graduating from high school. My wife and I felt a freedom to move forward into full time ministry for the Lord again. My vision was Africa and there was a perfect job description for us in a teaching hospital in the Cameroon. I filled out my application and waited for my wife to fill out hers, and waited. I knew this was the right plan; I knew we should return to Africa; I wanted to return to Africa; so one Sunday morning when my wife was brushing her hair, I encouraged her, “Becky, you need to get that application finished so we can move forward toward Cameroon.” I saw a look of fire in her eyes as she brought her brush down hard across the bathroom counter, shattering it into many pieces. “You’re not listening to me! If God wants us in Africa, I will go to Africa, but God has not called me to Africa.” I went upstairs and wisely checked Africa off our list. It had been my plan, not the Lord’s.
We can choose to serve God in missions by doing many good things, many religious things---but while doing so, do we still seek to control the direction of our lives. Oswald Chambers once taught, “The essence of sin is my claim to my right to myself.” The temptation to hold on to that claim will never leave us until we are delivered from this fallen world. The basis of the Christian life is not doing things for Christ. The basis of the Christian life is surrender----continually, repeatedly setting aside our will and seeking God’s will.
Dag Hammarskjöld was the Secretary General of the United Nations when he died in a plane crash trying to broker a peace deal in Africa. He was a man of faith who saw himself as a stone in the slingshot of God. In his personal writings, Markings, as he was moving forward into greater responsibility within the U.N., he wrote, “Long ago You gripped me, Slinger; now into the storm, now towards Your target!” As Mr. Hammarskjöld suggests, we are not the slinger; we are the stones. We need to settle into the sling and let God throw us where He will.
Over and over through the rest of our lives we who are mission minded need to ask ourselves the question, “Who gets to lead?”
I am so guilty of trying to control my own life. Take me, break me, mold me, make me, use me, discard me, but glorify Your name through me, I plead. Amen