may go into the Lord’s work for various reasons. Some may feel there is
prestige connected with being in full-time Christian work. If one is
lazy he might think he could get by while doing very little. Foreign
mission work might attract one with its exotic geography and culture.
Some might have a benevolent desire to help meet the needs of people,
being moved by stories and pictures of the poverty and starvation.
But when one actually
gets involved in the Lord’s work, the glamour quickly ebbs away.
Experience indicates that the following situations are commonly
confronted by those thus engaged. In many countries Christians are not
honoured but despised. The work is hard. Few seem to respond to the
gospel and discouragement sets in. If one is serving the Lord along
faith lines without a salary, at times funds may be very short.
Bitterness may set in toward other Christians. Why aren’t they more
concerned to give? Those you came to help may not appreciate your
efforts and your presence may be resented. You may begin to question
your own call. Have I made a mistake in going into full time work at
home or abroad?
Helen Roseveare served the Lord for sixteen years in the Belgian Congo.
In 1964 she was captured by rebel soldiers and for five months was
raped, beaten and abused. After a two-year furlough she went back for
another seven years to serve the Lord there. In an interview she said,
‘Sixteen years ago I talked about the desperate needs in other parts of
the world. Now I tell Christians, wherever they are, that they must,
re-fall in love with Jesus. The candidates for missionary service were
not staying the pace. For all their training they were not even staying
the first term, let alone for a lifetime. I had to ask, Why this
appalling fallout rate? They are responding with the wrong picture of
what mission is all about thinking it to be what they can do to serve
others. When they get to the mission fields and are not liked or
wanted, people take what they’ve got to give and throw them out. They
can’t stand the hurtfulness, so they come home’, Christianity Today, May 12, 1989.
one is in full-time work or not, what should be the motivation for
serving the Lord? Jesus questioned Peter by the Sea of Galilee three
times, probing his heart. ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter
responded, ‘Yes, Lord; You know . . . that I love you’, John 21. 16.
Then the Lord commissioned him to feed His flock. Peter’s
qualification for serving was not loving the lost, but a deep love and
loyalty to the Lord. Now we should be moved by the terrible lost
condition of the world around us. Christ was ‘moved with compassion for
them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no
shepherd’, Matt. 9. 36. But when people turn against you and reject
you, then you need a deeper love. Then Christ’s love for you and your
responding love will sustain you. ‘We love Him because He first loved
us’, 1 John 4. 19.
those leaving their employment to serve the Lord, whether at home or
abroad, one needs a profound sense of the call of God to this work.
There will come times of crushing testing when you will question
whether you should be doing God’s work. It seems too hard, too
difficult to bear. It’s then you need a deep conviction of God’s call.
Amos was challenged by Amaziah the priest of Bethel and told to stop
his preaching. ‘Then
Amos answered, and said to Amaziah: I was no prophet, Nor was I a son
of a prophet, But I was a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit.
Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said to me,
Go, prophesy to My people, Israel. Now therefore, hear the word of the
Lord’, Amos 7. 14-16.
The Lord’s servants need that same conviction today!