By now you’ve noticed that nobody’s going to tell you what to do most of the time in ACTION.
Some organizations decide in the home office what their members should do or where they should go and why. At ACTION we serve the call of God in the heart of each member as confirmed by the local church both at home and on the field. It’s a wonderfully freeing platform for service! It’s also a hot bed for laziness and headstrong independence.
I’ve been exercising a little at the Wheaton College Gym. When the football players or rowing team comes in, the place explodes with enthusiastic yells and grunts and groans. I try to convince myself I’m more mature than that, but I’m not fooled. I know I just don’t have the gas in the tank they do.
Jesus told us in Luke 12:35, “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning (ESV).” The context of that command is his imminent departure to heaven and promised return. He was challenging all his followers to stay awake and be ready to obey even when he wasn’t looking over their shoulders.
I believe he has given ACTION the mandate to mobilize his body for the Great Commission. Every believer must engage in reaching the nations for God’s glory by praying, being his witness and giving sacrificially – every single one of us. Some will be called to go cross-culturally to make disciples of those the church has not reached. That’s us!
If we don’t mobilize ourselves, how will we mobilize others?
1. Mobilize yourself to pray
Daren and I have sensed the Holy Spirit moving us to seek the Lord for ACTION. Asking for more workers is part of this but not all. There is no way to know God and take proper action without constant, fervent communion with him through prayer. Find ways to spur yourself to cry out to God with us for the experience of his presence and grace so we will be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Constant encounters with him is all the mobilization we need. Don’t just talk about it, pray.
2. Mobilize yourself to witness
Our Global Strategic Direction (GSD) mandates lifestyle evangelism for all of us. I’m not a natural evangelist. I have to fight my own fear of looking foolish (as if I looked so cool). But I am waking up to new opportunities to draw people around me, both saved and unsaved, to the Savior’s love by telling them what he’s done for me. Answers to prayer give me something to talk about. Someone said, “The resources are in the harvest.” Maybe the workers we need haven’t even met the Lord yet. Let’s all look for ways to introduce them.
3. Mobilize yourself to plan your own departure
Recently I heard David Platt say the IMB has 5 stages of ministry. The last one was Exit. We need to plan our exit. Jesus said it was good that he went away (John 16:7). He ascended to heaven after just three years of ministry. Discipleship, according to Matthew 28:20 is baptism (evangelism) and training (“…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” NIV). One of the primary things he commanded us was the Great Commission. Our disciples need to make other disciples. Otherwise they aren’t yet disciples. We should prepare them to take our places.
4. Mobilize yourself to be accountable
If we aren’t accountable for our work we won’t work as hard or as well as we should. That’s one of the reasons Wheaton athletes work harder in the gym than I do. Besides pushing each other, their coaches constantly check up on them. But here’s the key: We’re only as accountable as we want to be. Have you given a local overseer the right to ask you hard questions? Do you prayerfully listen when leaders tell you whether or not you’re doing a good job and how you could improve?
Remember what Kuya Doug Nichols used to say? “But David encouraged himself in the Lord.”
Don’t depend on others for your motivation. Seek the Lord’s love for you and the lost world through you.
The Lord has called us.
His Spirit lives in our bodies and enlivens our souls.
Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, the “founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2ESV)
Thomas and Susanna Smoak served the Lord among the abandoned children of Brazil from 1995 to 2016. They have six children and live in Wheaton, Illinois.