"There Is No Plan B: Why Going is Urgent, Not Optional"
Do you know how BADLY I want to just get up and GO?! Go far, far away to people who have NEVER heard of the Jesus Christ I have kept to myself while keeping good and busy with acquiring more, more, more of whatever I have desired in life. Go to these people who have no hope. People who don't know Who created them. People who don't realize the penalty for being the sinners they (we!!) inevitably are. Do you KNOW how badly I want to?!!
I don't either.
I don't know. I'm so torn. One minute I'm thinking, "What am I doing just sitting here on my very nice couch in my very nice living room watching my very nice TV after having a very nice meal (one of three today!)? What is wrong with me?! How can I be so disgustingly selfish?!!" And then I'm thinking, "Oh, dear. Why me? It would be so much easier to...ummmm...not! I've got a lot going on around here. And one day I might like to retire and travel...for fun. MY fun." I can so easily slip back into an out-of-sight, out-of-mind frame of thinking. Just pretend that what's important is making memories with my family, saving money, being healthy, and getting places on time. (Oh, boy.) And pretend that there are not billions of people going to HELL!! And that I'm responsible for sharing the Christ Who Saves with them. It's my job to tell them. My God-given job. (Matthew 28:19) It's not optional.
"If people are dying and going to hell without ever even knowing there is a gospel, then we clearly have no time to waste our lives on an American dream."
But it's not easy. It's not easy to give up my way of life. I want to hold on to it. I want to make myself feel safe and secure and avoid the very idea of going someplace dangerous, scary, poverty-stricken, and hopeless. Because that might just freak me out, and we all know that freaking out is being out-of-control and having to rely 100% on God for our every need. (Yikes!)
So am I a "Christian" who claims Christ is the only way, but then lives like everything will work out okay in the end for all the rest of the people in the world? I think I sort of AM. I mean, I certainly don't BELIEVE in such a pluralistic viewpoint. I don't BELIEVE that there are other ways to get to heaven. I don't BELIEVE for one second that Christ's death on the cross was anything other than absolutely, horrifically necessary to pay for my sins. So why do I live like this is not an urgent matter? Or a desperate one?
I think it's just more of the same self-centered heart that we are all born with. And I think Satan wants us as busy as possible so there's no time to reflect on the eternal damnation of the billions in the world who are either following a religious path that will lead them nowhere or who have no inkling of who Jesus Christ is. And IF we stop to think about it, he wants us thinking there are too many, and we can't do anything to make a real difference. And that maybe God is unjust in having things this way. That maybe God is the bad guy. But Satan is forever trying to deceive us. We know that!
And while it doesn't SEEM fair that there are so many who don't know Jesus...and therefore will go to hell, "there is no injustice in God," says David Platt and more authoritatively, the Bible! (Romans 9:14) Instead, "the injustice lies in Christians who possess the gospel and refuse to give their lives to making it known among those who haven't heard. That is unfair."
And that IS unfair. And I've been a part of it. I've not gone anywhere! I've not risked anything! I've not lived out the fact that the gospel is worthy enough of whatever cost I must pay to get it to others. I've not even acted like it on a daily basis with my children!!
At this point, I guess I'm left with a sort of dissatisfaction. With myself...and with church, in general. Churches that put forth so much effort in making our buildings comfortable and conducive to all our "programs," who make sure teenagers (who have HEARD about Jesus) get to go on purely fun trips, and yet say to potential missionaries: "What if you're not REALLY being called? We wouldn't want to put our money toward financing your endeavor if it's not the real thing." (Romans 10:15)
This chapter was so great because it debunked the whole "you've got to be CALLED to go into missions" thing. I do believe God CALLS people. And sometimes in very dramatic ways. But the fact is...we are ALL "called." GOING is God's will for all of us!! Whatever that may look like. Maybe it's GOING over to your neighbor's house and showing some hospitality to them. Maybe it's GOING to a local school to volunteer, love on kids, and show Christ's love to them. Maybe it's GOING on a short-term mission trip to provide medical attention and share the gospel as you help restore health to a hurting people. Or maybe it's GOING for good. No matter what the cost. No matter WHO thinks you're not "for real." But GOING because God commands you to do so. And because there is no greater cause worth living and dying for.
This post is part of an on-going read-along at Marla Taviano's blog.
**All quotes, unless noted otherwise, are from David Platt's book.