I wrote this post a few weeks ago. It just took some time to publish it.
Today’s morning prayer we studied Colossians 2:6-7. Our homework from yesterday was to bring an object that symbolize this passage. As each of us brought different items and explain to others what they stand for, someone brought this model to represent our walk with Christ.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.Colossians 2:6-7
As I looked at the model, I realize we can actually do Christian work without the need of Christ.
You can use your skills without being in Christ.
You can learn language and culture without being in Christ.
You can have Biblical knowledge without being in Christ.
You can even have bits of Christlikeness without being in Christ.
In the past few months as Wai Jia and I are exploring where to serve after OMF next April, we met up with missionaries from various mission organizations. It seemed that the first question they ask is not about our walk in Christ. Rather all the questions related to the outer most circles, what can we do.
What can we do on the field? What ‘practical’ skills can we help the field? Wai Jia can do medical work. I can do IT work. Everyone assumed that we are in Christ. I think this is a dangerous assumption. I realized that this is a period for me to draw closer in God. To commune with Him. To be able to discern His voice. To walk with Him. We need to go back to the way how the Gospel is shared in the New Testament. That is, to be led by the Holy Spirit.
It is tempting to focus mission as mainly a ‘practical’ activity where we can plan and dictate our steps without following the Holy Spirit. It maybe because this is not commonly what we do. It maybe because we love to take control of our future (even when we say we follow the Lord, we are really following the plans we want to make for the Lord). It maybe because we are scared where the Holy Spirit will bring us.
What I learnt and still learning is that when I speak with a brother or a sister in Christ, I don’t want to assume the inner circle is there. I don’t want to assume someone who profess they are Christian and want to do missions when they are struggling to walk with Him. Rather than focusing on what skills they can bring to the field, I rather ask them how are they walking in Christ. When we are in Christ, the other circles will overflow. But without Christ, what we are doing, even in our most sincere acts for Christ, is hollow.
The key to the missionary problem is in the hand of God, and that key is prayer not work, that is, not work as the word is popularly understood to-day because that may mean the evasion of concentration on God. The key to the missionary problem is not the key of common sense, nor the medical key, nor the key of civilization or education or even evangelization. The key is prayer. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest.” Naturally, prayer is not practical, it is absurd; we have to realize that prayer is stupid from the ordinary common-sense point of view.Utmost.org