Called to Stay… are you sure?
By Ng Zhiwen
Jesus commands us to go
But we go the other way
So He carries the burden alone
While His children are busy at play
Feelin’ so called to stay
So reads the first stanza of a song written by the late Keith Green in 1990. He was prophetically rebuking the church of his day, which had become so caught up with a convenient form of Christianity. He must have seen that many Christians in his time had assumed that missions was just for the few, while the rest would become backbenchers, cheerleaders and they “stay-put”.
I have often heard it said that we need to do ‘inreach’ before we can do ‘outreach’. I think those who make this remark mean that we need to pay attention to the quality of our discipleship and fellowship when we gather as the Church. In a sense, they are correct. But we must not allow this logic to justify our sitting still. We must not let ourselves perpetually delay teaching everyone to be missional everywhere.
We need the clarity of mind to know that we gather as a church to #getdeep and #getreal, so that we may all well and truly #getlost for the kingdom of God.
A mindset that is inward-focused would be fatal to the Church. The churches that have the most spiritual vitality and growth are those that readily release their members into the world, to make disciples, and yes, even to plant churches. Read Pastor Dev’s Word in Season article: https://www.zionbishan.org.sg/2022/04/why-plant-churches/
So too for each one of us in our personal lives. A Singaporean missionary once wrote a book on her experiences in the mission field. She entitled it “Out of the Harbour”, quoting from William Shedd who observed that “A ship is safe in harbour but that’s not what ships are for.” Armed with that conviction, she obeyed God’s call to go full time into the mission field where she learned so much about the heart of God.
You see, that’s the secret to life. There’s only so much that we can learn about God in theory. It’s when we step out into the world, following God’s leading (and not our own), and fully aware of His presence and activity all the time – it is out there, out of the harbour, where we stand to gain a mature understanding of #getdeep and #getreal.
We get discipled as we follow Jesus on mission. After all, He is the one who commands us to go. And His promise is that He will be with us all the way. That’s quite a promise, isn’t it.