A Gift Of Joy

Before this semester began, I had coffee with my friend Caleb who spent a good portion of this past summer on a missions trip in Greece. During our time together, he told me about his time there and the opportunities that he had to share the Gospel with others. One story in particular stuck with him (and with me) about a young man who actually came to understand and accept what the Gospel really meant for his life through their interactions together. This was a really exciting moment for Caleb and something that he had never experienced prior to this moment. He also told me that during his trip, he bungee jumped into the Corinth Canal (pictured below) which is a 260 foot (79 m) drop and a crazy rush for adrenaline junkies.

Corinth Canal

Although that jump was an incredible experience, Caleb told me that the rush of excitement that he felt in response to his jump was of no comparison to that of playing a part in seeing someone come to understand and experience the Gospel the way this man in Greece did. I have been thinking about his story this past week and a half as God has put opportunities in my life to share my faith in the Gospel with others – both believers and unbelievers. And this is quite assuredly an answer to prayer. I often ask the Lord that he would give me opportunities to share my faith, that He would give me the ability to recognize those opportunities, and that He would give me the courage to embrace those opportunities while putting my faith in Him and His Word. We even had two mormons come by our apartment last week and spent over an hour talking to them about both their beliefs and ours.

I have not seen anyone hit their knees and cry out to God with a broken and repentant heart as a response to these opportunities that I have had. In fact, some of the people with whom I have conversed verbally disagree with my faith and my belief in Christ. But I am so joyful in those moments because I know that I have been obedient to my calling. For all the times that I have written about the purpose of the commands of the Bible being so that we might find our greatest joy, that does not quite make sense until you actually try it. One of the core principles of my church is living in risky commitment with others. What that means is that as a church, we commit to taking risks in our lives with people, circumstances, and opportunities having faith that God will both protect us and provide for us in those moments. And He has for me.

As a sinful man, I am inadequate and unable to do anything that will contribute to the kingdom of heaven. When my efforts are wasted on myself and my own perceptions of what is good, I have wasted the gift of my Lord and Savior. But when I humble myself as a servant, I know that God can use me in great ways. And that is because my ambitions and my desires are laid to waste as a response to His will for my life. We are all broken people and that is how we should view one another. Not through eyes of judgment, pride, arrogance, or elitism. We are all sinful. We are all depraved. Salvation is a gift of grace from God and not something we deserve or earn. As Christians, we are called to live on mission and preach this to everyone we meet. It is not by my own efforts. But Christ alone. And there is no greater satisfaction than living in obedience to this fact.

Just ask my friend Caleb.

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20

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