Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Measuring Your Commitment to Missions

Yesterday, I went to NBBI to visit my brother and to listen to Dr. Chris Gnanakan speak in chapel. It was a great time. Let me give you the basic notes of Dr. Chris' lecture.

The premise of the lecture is that there must be some way that we can measure our commitment to Christ. Just as we look at the dashboard of our cars, and see the fuel gauge that measures four basic levels of how much gas is in our car, we can look at four levels of commitment to missions and see where we stand.

"So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net." And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men." So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him." -Luke 5:1-11

1. Passive missions - Peter listened to Jesus' words while washing his nets. This is the equivalent of attending church, listening to sermons, and 'being fed' as we call it in North America.

2. Proxy missions - Peter let Jesus use his 'stuff.' There is no real cost to proxy missions. Peter had just fished all night. He wasn't going to be using the boat for a while. I feel that this is where we are at in many churches in the west. We give our money and resources, but it really doesn't cost us anything does it?

3. Participation in missions - Jesus challenges Peter to launch out into the deep. Jesus shows Peter that it is not a spectator sport. In essence, this is being a part of the mission, such as taking part in a short-term trip.

4. Partnership in missions - Peter invites James and John to join him. They all experience the power of God. We need others to join us in missions for accountability, support, prayer, and many other things. 

Through this all, Peter realized two things. 1) He acknowledges his own sinfulness and 2) Peter realizes he is dealing with deity. 

So where do you measure up to on this missions-commitment gauge? I have been challenged in this. I would like to think i'm somewhere around 3 or 4, but it is more likely that during the daily grind, I am probably much closer to 2, proxy missions. Admittedly, I let Jesus use my 'stuff' and often I am happy about it, but it seems to be few and far between that I actually participate or partner in missions. 

Lord, lead me down the path of obedience, no matter what the cost, no matter how far it takes me, no matter what You do in me. My desire is to see Your power displayed in lives changed for the sake of the gospel.

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