Last week I was in beautiful southern Florida where the only flaw I could find was the Miami Heat. Not the weather, it was a perfect 72F, you know the Heat of which I speak. I was there for the annual One Hope Celebration and Missions Report. Over the course of a few days reports from missionaries around the world were shared with all in attendance. One night, there was a special celebration honoring Bob Hoskins for 70 years of faithful gospel ministry. Read more about it from his son Rob Hoskin's blog post here.
In the midst of it all, I felt very... small. Not in a way I should. I look at the men and the missions that surround me and think "I need to be doing MORE!" I'm the guy that brought 2 books to read PLUS my Greek to work on while I was there. That's right. I took my Greek text-book to the beach. Dr. Plummer would be so proud of me. I found myself having this itch wherever I went to read and work and read and work. What was that?
Certainly part of it was godly. I want to have 70 years of faithful gospel ministry. I don't want to waste my life. However, a lot of it was my own pride. I saw men I admire and I want to be an admired man. I saw godly men and women sharing stories of how God has used them to spread the gospel and I think "I want to share a story like that so that others might get to listen to ME." My motives are so mixed.
Jesus was not calling me to work harder. Jesus was calling me to worship better.
God gave me this gift one day. He allowed me to realize, this is a time for me to simply enjoy HIM and to praise God for what He is accomplishing around the world. I can get so busy in my life worrying about falling behind where I should be in my studies, or worrying about the ministry God has placed me over, or being concerned with not living up to "my full potential" (whatever that means). I can end up being paralyzed. It is the way the Enemy makes me useless. I had to purpose myself to worship God. By the grace of God, I celebrated what God is doing around the world. God didn't need me to catch up on all the reading I should do or to work hard enough to become the world's greatest missionary in that moment.
I realized, I had bought into this lie if I worked hard enough God could use me more. Jesus wasn't calling me to work harder. Jesus was calling me to worship better. When my focus is working harder, I am under the delusion that somehow God is in need of me. When my focus is worship, I recognize that it is God who works through me. God doesn't expect of us to work non-stop. God took a sabbath and commanded us to rest. We were created to work hard when we work, but to rest from work regularly. When we fail to rest, we do not work our best. Most of the time when I overwork, I am over valuing myself and failing to trust God. The mission of Jesus is not dependent upon your work. Your mission is dependent upon the work of Jesus.
Maybe you are like me. Ask yourself, do I see God's mission as depending upon me? Or is my mission dependent upon God? Do I see my weaknesses as limiting God's ability to use me? Or am I going to boast in my weakness? Do I find my identity in my work or in Christ's work in me?
We are EXPECTING!
Lauren and I have looked forward to the day we would become parents for a long, long time. In some ways, today is that day. We have submitted the initial paperwork to adopt a baby boy from Uganda!
The process will take roughly 2-3 YEARS. Woof. We are not looking forward to playing the waiting game. However, the adoption agency we are adopting through (Lifeline Christian Adoption Services) does A LOT of background work to make sure that the children being adopted are truly in need. If the child is able to be reunited to their family, that's the preferred home for the child. However, if the child has doesn't have that hope for their family Lifeline will connect the child to approved families.
The approval process will take 8 months. After Lauren and I are approved it could take one and a half to two and a half years to be matched to a child. Once Lifeline identifies a child, we will go to Uganda to adopt the little guy! There are more boys than girls available for adoption from Uganda, so we are requesting a boy because of the greater need. Also, we are hoping to begin making babies the old fashioned way after our first adoption! We are requesting a baby so our children can be close in age to one another.
Please pray for us as we begin this journey! It is a long, expensive process but God has moved both of our hearts to adoption in Uganda over the past several months and for years. I will post later about why adopting from Uganda but you can read Lauren's side of the story today.
Grace and peace,