When the same tugging comes at me from several directions in a short period of time, I believe I’m hearing from God.
For a while I’ve become more and more aware of two things. First, I am big on thinking and dreaming, but comparatively lacking in action. Second, my typical service has been within my church, to the church, with less of my time and effort given outside the church. Both of these realizations have been making me uncomfortable.
In the past year or two I’ve run across one book many times. It is entitled Revolution in World Missions: One Man’s Journey to Change a Generation. The first time I saw it, I picked it up and read the back cover, which made it sound like it was a biography of a missionary in Asia. But I already had several biographies of Christians and missionaries on my shelves at home that I hadn’t read yet, which looked more interesting, so I left it at the store.
I saw the same book several more times and ignored it, but kept wondering why it was so prevalent. I thought, “Someone must be going out of their way to populate all kinds of stores with this book.” Why would someone do that? When I saw a stack of about twenty brand-new copies of K.P. Yohannan’s book at another store, and saw that they were free, I picked one up. I figured I’d glance through it and donate it to the Co-op Book Exchange. It sat on my shelf for months before I finally sat down to read the first chapter.
As I read, I quickly realized that I was not alone in some of my questions about missions and my grieving over the materialism of the Western world, including the Western church. I couldn’t put it down. The book suggested sponsoring a national missionary in Asia, one of the areas of the world that has the least access to the message of the gospel, because that missionary would have opportunities to share his or her faith that Westerners would never have. By the time I read the first three chapters, I’d decided to make a priority with my time and money to help share the gospel to those who haven’t heard it.
The Bible study group that I attend has just begun to study the book of James, which contains numerous reminders to put our faith and love into action. And while my heart has always begun to race when I hear of opportunities to serve the needy (especially children), the experiences recently relayed by others who have returned from a short-term mission have motivated me to switch from contemplating “if I went”, to “when and where I will go”. I am now sorting through opportunities to help in the work of sharing the gospel, both locally and in other countries.
I know that God gives wisdom to do whatever he asks us to do, and I hope I can be patient enough to wait on him to clarify exactly which direction he wants me to go first!
[You can also read my detailed review of Revolution in World Missions on my website, here.]
Posted by Ramona