Where are all the career missionaries? Is God no longer calling workers to the harvest fields? These are some of the questions that have haunted me for the last five or so years. As I look across our movement, it seems that our missionary force is dropping in numbers, and new recruits seem fewer every year. I am not convinced that God is done using dedicated, passionate, long-term missionaries. But I do believe we are either not praying to the Lord of the Harvest to send forth laborers, or those whom He has called are not going. Once the church starts crying out for workers, God will be faithful to respond. But I wonder if those called will respond willingly and positively. Will they do what it takes to fulfill their calls? There are certain steps that must be taken in order to successfully turn a call into a reality.
I. Whole-Hearted Surrender
“Eric, will you be willing to be a missionary?” That was the question God whispered to my heart one night as I knelt next to my bed having my devotions. I was only thirteen. I knew if I said yes I would automatically being saying no to a lot of other things. My dreams, ambitions, wants and desires had to die. Thankfully those things had died the day I was sanctified. “Yes, Lord,” I said, “I will go wherever you want me to go.” Many of those who have been called and failed to show up for duty have been those who never learned what it meant to be “crucified with Christ.” Die to the fact that you will live far from home, that you may not have all the modern conveniences, and that you may not be home for Christmas. Until you fall to the ground at Jesus’ feet and die like a seed, you will never blossom as a missionary.
II. Serious Preparation
Upon my conversion and sanctification, there was a natural desire to win souls. But once I was called, there was an even greater urgency to get involved in ministry. From taking guitar lessons, Spanish lessons, and reading books on evangelism to handing out tracts and going on mission trips, I tried to do all that I could to prepare myself for ministry. Your preparation needs to begin immediately, and it needs to be taken seriously. Get involved in a Sunday school class; evangelize in your neighborhood; help on the church bus; do something, and do it now!
III. Focused Living
Be purposeful. Keep focused on your call and make decisions with your call in mind. If it’s marriage, pray hard and long about your companion. A lot of people have made shipwreck of their calls because of the person they married. Stay out of debt!! Debt is the great missionary killer. Learn to live content with what you have. You don’t have to have the best name-brands, the latest model car, or the newest phone. But you do have to fulfill your call, so make it your priority. Do whatever you have to do, for souls are depending on you. Make your call a mission completed.