Compelled.

cats

I love my house.
I love the hardwood floors and the décor I chose for every room.
I love the stuff in it – some old, some newer, some cast-offs, some I purchased.

I love my yard.
I have worked hard over the past ten years to turn it into something beautiful.
Gardening as therapy.
Time with the Lord.
Time in the dirt.
Making something gorgeous out of nothingness.

I love my car.
The freedom it brings.
The gas mileage.
And especially the color – royal blue.

I love my cats.
I have had them since they were 6-weeks old.
And they will be 13 this year.
They have been my comfort in loneliness their whole lives.
Making me laugh.
Curling up on my lap.
Greeting me when I come home.

In a totally different way, I love my family.
My parents, who are not perfect, but have loved me well.
My sister, who is one of my closest friends, and her family.
My nieces, who I have watched grow into wonderful, godly women.
I love laughing with all of them.
Spending time at the house I grew up in where they all live together.

I love my friends.
God has blessed me with amazing girlfriends.
They make me laugh.
They listen to me rambling on.
They let me be perfectly me, accepting me as I am and loving me anyway.

And I love my kids.
I love hanging out with Gi, watching videos on my phone.
I love that he runs to greet me, little arms extended.
I love that he trusts me as a second mommy.
I love spending time with my kids from church.
Talking with them about the Lord.
Hearing how they have applied what they have learned in their lives.
Walking with them through struggles.

And I love my grown-up and growing-up Grow Zone kids.
I love seeing them walk with the Lord as adults.
I love seeing them minister in His name.
Making an impact for the Kingdom as they grow.

So why in the world would I leave all that?
Why would I give up my house?
My garden?
My car?
Time with family and friends?
All that is familiar and safe?

Why would I give up a job that pays well and has awesome benefits in a well-established ministry?
Why would I go to living on the kindness of monthly supporters instead of the guarantees that came with my paycheck?

Because I am a super-saint?
Absolutely not.

Because I fell in love with Guatemala?
Nope. I do love it here. But it will never have all those things and people in it.

Because of a mid-life crisis?
No. That is my little joke. I turn 50 this year so it seems like maybe that is the motive.

None of that would keep me away from the comfort of home, the security of my job, the house and yard I have poured into, the convenience of living in my culture and most of all, the people I love.

There is only one reason that makes the sacrifices worth it.

My “sacrifices” pale in comparison to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God on the cross.
For the people of Guatemala.
And the world.

If this life was all there is, I would not be here.
I would be in Maryland, making all the money I could, investing in all the stuff I could, living it up with all the people I love.
I would be seeking my comfort and happiness above all else.
I would be grabbing for all the goodness this life has to offer.

But if this life was all there is, there would not be a heaven.
And there would not be a hell.
An eternity with or without God.
And people would not be important. Their eternal destiny would not matter.

But there IS a heaven.
And there IS a hell.
And eternity is real.
And so is God.
People ARE important.
Because they are the only earthly “things” that will last.

This world will burn one day.
It will be destroyed by the same Creator who made it.
My house will be destroyed.
My landscaping, car, and possessions, too.
My money will burn.
My cats will be long gone.
All of it will go.

But people?
People live forever.
Either with God.
Or without Him.

And the people I love in the U.S. know Him already.
So I am guaranteed to spend forever with them.
Laughing, loving, being myself.
Hanging out.
Enjoying the new heaven and the new earth.
And enjoying them.

The people in the U.S. who don’t know Him have incredible resources available.
Radio, TV, the internet
Books in every form
Churches
Preachers
And the freedom to hear it all, accept it all, live it all

But millions of people around the world don’t know Him
Don’t have access to the incredible wealth of knowledge and info and access that the U.S. has
They haven’t heard
Or they have heard a distorted, untrue message.
They don’t know
And they need to know.
Because eternity is on the line.

So there is only one reason I am here.
Paul put it this way:
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

Compelled.
I have been loved extravagantly.
Born into HUGE amounts of wealth, just because I was born in the U.S. (No, I don’t feel wealthy. But I am.)
Born into freedom.
Born into a home where Jesus was taught from day one.
And born again into the family of God by Jesus’ incredible sacrifice.
I have been given MUCH.

How can I grasp all that, clutching it to my chest, while the world dies and goes to hell?
How can I call myself “poor” and “unable” when the reality is that I am rich and available to go?
How can I withhold the truth of the Kingdom for the sake of my comfort?
How can I live like this life is all there is when I preach the Word that says it will all burn up?
How can I ignore that Jesus said to ALL His followers to go into ALL the world?

I can’t.
Can you?

You may not be called to physically go to a different country.
But you are also called – compelled – to make sure the gospel goes out from wherever God plants your feet.
If you are not called to physically go, then you are called to physically enable those who are going.
By prayer
By financial support
By emotional support
By loving them and cheering them on
By helping in every way you can to get the gospel everywhere it needs to go.
By giving to your local church
By giving to ministries outside of it
By seeing the need at your front door
And the one across the world.

A big job?
Yes.
A God who is big enough to use even you and me to accomplish it?
Yes.

My heart lives in many places around the world.
But my eternity is secured in only one place – the heart of God.
The love of Christ compels me.
Will you let it compel you?

 

 

 

 

 

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