I’m really horrible at coming up with titles for blogs and papers, so I just wrote down what I sang right before I started writing this. So while it has nothing to do with the topic of this post, it is what it is.
It has been exactly a week since we landed in Japan, and it still doesn’t feel real. Sometimes it still dawns on me that I’m actually a missionary in a foreign field - it’s no longer just an idea! And while I may be focusing on language and culture study the next couple of years, there will be a time when I am going to be sharing the Gospel message with the lost.
My initial reaction to this thought every time is: intimidation.
Since I am here, everyone must be expecting that I have all this evangelistic experience under my belt and that I have been somehow equipped with some extra training to fulfill this mission.
In one light, sure, I was a Christian Ministries major in college and have a calling to do this specific mission, which definitely counts for something. But when I really look at my past and at my skills, I don’t have much real experience. I’m not gifted in knowing how to talk to strangers, nor am I a good speaker in general. I haven’t led a consistent Bible study, and honestly, while I’ve shared bits of the Gospel with people before, I’ve never been there at the point of someone’s conversion from it. Is it crazy that I am going to do this for the rest of my life?
Yes. Yes, it is. It’s crazy that God would entrust someone like me to do part of His work here on earth. And even if it’s not much, and even if I’m not very skilled, I say to Him, “I am willing anyway.” Do you know why? Every time I have that reaction of intimidation, I quickly calm myself down by reminding myself that I am nothing but an empty vessel for God. If I can manage to open my hands and open my mouth, then I trust the Spirit to do the rest of the work. It is HIS message of truth, and I entrust that He is going to be working in the recipient, not me.
That frame of mind really takes the pressure off. While this may not be true for everyone, the most comforting way I visualize this is me being an ambassador, or rather a servant, for my King. If He says to go and deliver His message, who am I to say no?
And if the person responds in rejection, it’s not even toward me. In 1st Samuel, Israel asks for a king so that they can be like the other nations. So they got Saul, who in turn disobeys God because he’s afraid of the people and gives in to their sin. Everyone, including their king, chose to be slave to what other men thought rather than being servants of the true King. When you represent only yourself on display for other people, that’s when you really start to feel the pressure. If I was trying to scam someone into believing in something unworthy, such as myself, then I would be worried how I could carry it off. But I am representing a Word that is irrefutable. So I don’t have to try to come up with something clever for others to buy into. The Gospel is already laid out, and all I have to do is repeat its words.
As people, we tend to look at ourselves and others too heavily through the lens of gifts and talents. Of course I believe that God gives us particular giftings, and having certain skills can obviously be helpful; however, those factors should never completely hinder us because none of us will ever be THAT skilled enough to do anything without His grace.
Will a kingdom sower be evaluated based purely on his skill and experience? Or will anyone be accepted who says in his heart, “God, I have never sown before, but you have already provided the seeds, and I am willing to do your labor. I entrust that throughout all this soil, you will provide some that is rich and deep, and I entrust that YOU will be the one to nurture and grow your seeds in these people.”