Read His Words Before Ours!
“Even for the foreigner who is not your people Israel, but has come from a distant land
because of Your name — for they will hear
of Your great name, strong hand, and outstretched arm,
and will come and pray towards this temple.
May You hear in heaven, Your dwelling place, and do according to all the foreigner asks.
Then all the peoples of the earth will know Your name,
to fear You as Your people Israel do.”
1 Kings 8:41-43
King Solomon prayed these words at the dedication of the Temple. The words are nestled solidly in the Old Testament, many generations before Jesus spoke the words of the Great Commission. In the Great Commission, the Lord challenges us to “go and make disciples of all nations.”
King Solomon’s words prove that the concept of all nations knowing the Lord is not a new one.
However, as I read the words prayed by King Solomon, I sensed my “You Are Here” pin on my mental map shifting. Had I been living in the time of King Solomon, I would be the foreigner. I would be the one coming from afar to learn of the Lord. With that reality sinking in, I found a new humility washing my perspective on the Great Commission and my role within it. Instead of looking out my door and searching for people to tell the good news to (which is not a bad perspective to have in general), I sensed my heart shifting to focus on the Lord first. From that starting line, I simply engage those I encounter, trusting He is the one who has put them in my path. The entire process became far less about me and much more about Him.
It was with this renewed mindset I began reflecting on previous mission trip experiences and my interactions with the missionaries ministering in those locations. I have had the opportunity to travel to countries with extreme poverty and visiting homes for eight people made from cardboard. I’ve also walked the streets of first world countries where taxi after taxi were all high-end cars. In each scenario, the same truth proved true of those serving there. These missionaries had allowed themselves to be rooted in their respective ministries, and moved with the flow of the Lord in their land, because they had locked their eyes on the Lord first and followed where He led.
As you read the words of the Great Commission, may your gaze on the Lord guide you into all that He has prepared for you. If you feel the call to physically go abroad, keep your eyes on Him and obey with all you have. You will be astounded at the places He sets your feet. If you do not feel called right now to serve overseas, you are still vitally important to missions. Yes, you can help financially by sending others and have a tangible impact, however, there are other avenues as well.
For the last few years, the Lord has opened the door for me to travel to Estonia on short term mission trips. The team from my church visits the same location every year in effort to invest in and encourage those serving full-time. On our last trip, I asked what impact our trips and presence have. The lead pastor, who is originally from England, said our visits bring needed encouragement and support in a variety of ways. Sometimes that looks like manual help at the church or homes, other times it looks like a listening ear and prayer for those serving. Still other times, it is simply allowing those serving full-time to rest in the presence of other believers, especially in locations that aren’t open to the Gospel.
One of the most significant statements, however, came from a young Estonian woman who serves in the church. She explained that the team consistently returning and some members coming back year after year sent the message to everyone that they are significant and the investment is genuine. She noted how our consistency and intentionality conveyed that we care about her and her relationship with the Lord as our promises to return proved to be more than lip service.
You may not be called to leave your zip code to physically serve in another country or location; however, you can impact the nations regardless. Is there a missionary you know who could use consistent encouragement? Would a note, email, or care package remind them they are not forgotten and provide some empowerment to carry on? Why not ask how you can pray for them specifically?
The Lord’s heart is for the nations and the individuals within those nations to know Him. This concept is woven throughout the Word in both Old and New Testaments.
Lock your gaze on Him and tune your ears to His voice.
Through your obedience, you will help advance the Great Commission!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!