Just a week ago I had the amazing opportunity to spend time with God’s choicest people in the Central American country of Honduras.
Among these were committed volunteers from not only our congregation but from around that country as well, Pastor’s and congregants whose love for Jesus is expressed with such passion and surrender along with ministry leaders whose surrender to the call of God upon their lives has taken them around the world many times over touching lives for eternities sake with the life changing message of Christ. Among these precious lives I was honored to spend time with were a couple from our church who many years ago said yes to a call to missions. Kent and Rhonda Harmless.
They heard God’s voice asking the question, “Who will go?” Their response was a committed, “here am I, send me.” This phrase I borrow from the Prophet Isaiah who was ushered into the presence of the Lord and came face to face with God and was transformed.
This is important for a number of reasons. First it’s important because I believe that we must see ourselves correctly. What I mean by that is we need to see ourselves just as the Lord sees us. And believe you me, he’s got a pretty good view of who we really are. Not just the person that our friends and family see, but the real person we are when no one else is around. Someone has wisely said, reputation is what people see, but character is what no one else but you and the Lord know about. James says… “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
Also, we must have a clear view of the Lost. Each of us daily as Christ followers come into contact with those who are un-churched. The statistics are astounding. According to George Barna, “the frequency with which most people attend church services has not changed in a few decades. On average, about one third attend every week; one third attend one to three weekends each month; and the remaining one third never attend, except for special occasions such as weddings and funerals.”
Think of it, people you know, live close to, work with every day are un-churched and if we’re not careful we will be guilty of doing absolutely nothing about it. Isaiah when hearing the need from the Lord was willing to be used in any way possible. “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Do you have a good view of the lost you come into contact with daily, and are you doing anything about it?
Lastly and most importantly, we need to be clearly focused on the Lord. Matthew 6:33 has long been a favorite verse of mine “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God’ and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” When we keep the Lord in clear sight in our lives we are stable, but when our view of Him becomes distorted and fuzzy, we run the risk of getting hurt ourselves and even hurting others.
Sir Francis Drake wrote, “Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity; and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim. Disturb us Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.”
As I write this, my heart is still heavy because my friend Kent Harmless who I referred to earlier in this column was called home to be with the Lord he loved and served the day after I left Honduras. For Kent, the face to face encounter here has given way to a face to face encounter there, this time it is forever. I truly believe it will be worth it all, when we see Jesus!