Notes to Pilgrims #12
As a people who possess the good news that could radically alter the eternal destinies of the lost, a constant focus on mission/evangelism/witnessing is imperative. To keep the good news all to ourselves, after all, would be the height of selfishness and apathy. As such, many churches make it a point to periodically and strongly urge their members be on mission with God either through prayer, giving, or going. But such an either/or approach to Christian mission or ministry tends to cultivate the idea that service to Christ is elective and optional—which it isn’t.
Anyone who truly understands the implications of the gospel in his or her life, recognizes that while ‘prayer,’ ‘giving,’ and ‘going,’ are great categories to work with, yet the demand of Christ’s love on each believer goes far beyond—it is one of utter and complete allegiance and devotion. (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15) You see, Christian friends, Jesus has passed through death for our sins and has brought us back to life with Him in His resurrection! If you are Christ’s, then “…you are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (i.e. with your ALL; cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) And if we’ve been bought by Christ, then every other aspect of our existence—our energies, our monies, our thoughts, our relationships, our vocations, &c, so belong to Him.
Consequently, the proper approach to mission and Church life for the believer is never an either/or (e.g. “Since I am already serving through my time and gifts, perhaps I can just excuse myself from serving through my giving.” or “Since I am already giving so much money to the church and mission efforts, I will no longer give of my time and my efforts.” or “I am a prayer warrior so I will just be praying for the concerns of the church.” or worse, “I want to know the bare minimum that I should give to God so that I can keep the rest for myself.”) Instead, a robust and proper understanding of the cost of the cross ought to compel us to see that everything we own, we have—on loan—from the Lord. It is all grace and therefore we must rightly use these graces for the advancement of His kingdom and for the growth of His body. It is an “all of the above” for the Christian, and much more even. Nothing must be held back; nothing but Christ ought to be sacred to us.
Lastly, as we resolve to do this or that for the Lord, or to give this or that for His sake, we add ‘Deo Volente’—as the Lord wills. For since He is sovereign and ultimate over all, even our plans are to be offered up to Him in humility and deference to His wisdom and will.
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)
—Pastor James (firstname.lastname@example.org