"The Great Why of God: God's Global Purpose From the Beginning Till Today"
I've blogged about my selfishness before. Not that I said everything there was to be said. Certainly, I could go on and on about how on a daily basis it's really all about me. What I want for breakfast. What I want to do with my day. Who I want to spend my time with. Where I want to go. Even WHY I want to do whatever. How I really don't consider what's best for others, or put them first. In fact, sometimes (in my mind) my selfishness seems justified, though it never is. And let's not forget about all of those around us (and beyond) who may suffer as a result of that selfishness. (Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Phil. 2:3)
But life is short. Right? I've got to do "abc" for me. I can do "xyz" for God later. This mentality is everywhere we turn in our society. I want what I want WHEN I want it, and I don't care who has to suffer as a result of my going after that thing. Certainly...certainly we are often not concerned with God's PLAN for us, or what His Word says about that thing we want, or really the most important thing--whether or not God will be glorified in our "thing."
Honestly, I just wonder sometimes how much we really WANT what God wants for us. Much less what He wants for the rest of the world. Do we CARE what brings God the most glory? Or do we want what's easiest for us? Or what appeals to our need to feel good about ourselves? When it comes right down to it, aren't we all in it for ourselves?
I hear this a lot. Goodness, I've probably said it myself a time or two. It goes something like this: 'God has not called me to do missions.' Yeah. Heard it? Said it? Or He isn't calling me to [insert geographical location here] right now. Maybe later.
But David Platt wants to know...where in the Bible is missions given as an "optional program in the church"?! Jesus commanded us to go into all the nations. To leave our comfort zones, to leave those things/people we think we can't live without, and to GO. NOW. Not ONCE we get a few of our own plans accomplished or AFTER we've experienced this or that. But now. Go wherever we need to go, wherever God has given us a heart to go.
Go. do. something. for. Him.
He. did. everything. for. you.
Go. do. something. for. Him.
He. did. everything. for. you.
"We have taken this command, though, and reduced it to a calling--something that only a few people receive."
The rest of us figure those "called" will do enough good to cover us while we bask in our own laziness and our self-made successful lifestyles we so treasure. We may even send a little money. To make us feel spiritual and stuff.
I'm not saying we should disdain the successes we've had or the blessings God has given us. But MOST of the time, people who have been blessed with success stop there, thinking that's the glorious end to their "American-Dreamed" story. But WE ourselves are never the main thing, even at the end of our own story. It is God from the beginning to the end and every day in between. Our stories are only parts of HIS story (history). So when you're pondering all your success, your profit, all your "abundant life now"-ness, consider this, written by a mom upon returning from a trip to Guatemala:
"(God says...) I have blessed you for my glory. Not so you will have a comfortable life with a big house and a nice car. (And--this is me here--can I interject with...'Not so you will fall in love, get married, and have however many kids you always thought you'd like to have.' ??) Not so you can spend lots of money on vacations, education, or clothing. Those aren't bad things, but I've blessed you so that the nations will know me and see my glory."
This week my man and I were lounging on the couch. I was probably blogging or something (because I can't just do ONE thing at a time), and he was flipping through the channels on TV. He stopped for a second on a Christian channel of some sort where a preacher was telling about the successes God had blessed him with. His point was focused on asking God for things. "Ask and ye shall receive (much)." He told about how God had given him some money (from viewers sending in checks, mind you), and that after investing it here and there, it had multiplied greatly. So. He went out and bought a multi-million-dollar jet. And three days later bought an even nicer one.
I was stunned.
I don't know why exactly. I've heard these things before. This "American Dream" drivel being passed off as something spiritual and enlightening and God-blessed. But THIS TIME all I could think about was all the hungry (physically, emotionally, and spiritually) in the world that he could have helped and thus given God great acclaim for Himself. Oh, he gave God the credit for all that money alright. He stood in awe of what God could do. But it was all about what God could do for him. God, however, is in the business of spreading His name over all the earth. That is His heart. And for those of us who have been chosen and adopted into His family, for those of us who owe Him our lives because He saved them, that should be our heart, too.
"To disconnect God's blessing from God's global purpose is to spiral downward into an unbiblical, self-saturated Christianity that misses the point of God's grace."
I think the thing that stood out the most for me in this chapter was a discussion about Paul calling himself a debtor to the nations in the first chapter of Romans. He is basically saying that "because he is owned by Christ, he owes Christ to the world." Now we see why Paul never stayed home. (Did he even have a home?) He spent all his days preaching the gospel, helping others, spreading God's fame to the nations. Unselfishly.
I leave you with an excerpt from a song I love and one I remember being quoted by a friend upon her return from a missions trip:
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity
(from "Hosanna" by Brooke Fraser)
I'm linked up with Marla Taviano's Radical Read-Along group. If you'd like to read the book, go here to get yourself a copy.
* All quotes, unless noted otherwise, are from David Platt's book.