This past week my husband and I spoke at an incredible missions conference. Coming from Colorado, a place where 95% of the people are unchurched to a beautiful state in the south, the southern hospitality has been awesome. The people have such a love for the Lord and willingness to serve His people.
One of the sessions all the missionary women were part of a panel while women of the church asked us questions. One question ignited a fire in my soul I didn’t even realize was there. It had to do with raising support. Since we are missionaries, we raise 100% of our income. One of the missionaries on the panel doesn’t take initiative to ask people for support but follows in George Muller’s footsteps. If that is how the Lord led her and her husband then that is fine.
BUT what hit me in the face and ignited a passion in my soul was the realization that our American Christian culture seems to think if you don’t try and God comes through, it’s great faith. Compare George Mueller who didn’t raise support but waited for God to bring to him what he needed with the majority of missionaries today who do take initiative to seek out a team to support them financially. You don’t hear a lot of comments about how much faith so and so has because they are raising support. Yet, whenever the name George Mueller comes up people oo and ah about how great his faith was. But here’s reality, faith is an action. It’s an active trust. So faith that is passive, sitting back and waiting for things to fall in our lap, is not actually faith.
So why the passion in my soul? Because it hit me that this very lie is cutting off believers who love the Lord from deep effectiveness and crippling their investments in heaven and ability to glorify God. If you believe it’s only God if comes to you without effort, it cripples effectiveness.
Look at plants. They need sun, water, soil and oxygen. In Colorado, plants only grow when take initiative to water them. We don’t have enough rain to keep even grass alive on it’s own. But that’s a law God put in place, putting effort into producing fruit. Taking initiative doesn’t equal a lack of faith.
In the Bible study I lead, we are working our way through Second Samuel. In Chapter 5 David (like he is so often) inquires of the Lord to see if and how he should attack other groups. He didn’t move until he heard specifically and directly from the Lord. That makes it seem like passivity is right, sitting and waiting until we have some special, specific call from the Lord to act. It stumped me until I spend quite time asking the Lord to teach me about it. Guess what He showed me!? David didn’t have the Holy Spirit or the full Word of God! So of course He needed specific revelation from God because it was not already given. And guess what else He showed me. That the only time in the NT the disciples were told to wait was when they were told to wait to receive the Holy Spirit. How beautifully amazing! He had told the disciples to “GO”. And they did. And while they were going, if they were headed a wrong direction, the Lord redirected them. The minute we surrendered our life to Christ and received His forgiveness, we were sealed with/given the Holy Spirit and were given God’s specific call to “Go and make disciples of all nations”.
You my dear friend already have a specific call. You don’t need to sit back and wait for some other mystical directions. You don’t need a feeling or dramatic almost audible voice from God. Your call has already been written down and it’s your responsibility to invest what you have and live out that mission, and when you’re headed the wrong direction, God will direct you.
Laura, the creator and host of Missional Women is married and has four kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 11 years serving with Master Plan Ministries. Laura is the Women's Development Coordinator and has discipled over 150 girls, led over 30 Bible studies and speaks to college and women's groups. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, and A Devotional Journey through Judges, a devotional to accompany the free online Bible study at TheBookofJudges.com. You can find her on facebook,twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram and her author site.
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3/22/2014 09:23:28 am
I do have to take exception with one of your views. While I agree that believers need to step out in faith and not just sit back and twiddle their thumbs waiting for God to work in their need, I would disagree with your view (if I read this right) that George Mueller did so. He took great initiative in his reliance on the Lord. But rather than going to other believers to meet his need, he went directly to God. I dare say, that he spent more time on his knees before the Lord than other missionaries spend in other ways of gaining support. You could say that he truly labored in prayer.
3/23/2014 05:54:46 am
Thanks for sharing your thought Heidi. I don't know George Mueler personally so it's hard to say what his faith was like, that's why I didn't talk about him but rather just explained where my passion for this came about. I have heard conflicting things about George Mueller. Though he didn't someone flat out to join his team I have heard he made his request known. Others have said he didn't do that. I don't know. Maybe he did "walk" by faith, maybe not. I honestly don't claim to know. It's impossible to know for sure without talking to him. I do know he has been an encouragement to many people to trust The Lord will come through. I also know many people (including myself for many many years) that didn't grow in getting wisdom because they/I just sat back and didn't actually take imitative to steward well the things The Lord have for me to steward.
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