Four weeks ago, I started a series that I'm hoping will be both a challenge and encouragement to you, based off of a sermon by the senior pastor at my sending church. The first post focused on that oxymoron that the God is sovereign, but that men are also responsible. Imagining those two truths as a horseshoe where, as mere humans, only see and comprehend the ends. God, on the other hand, looks at the whole and thus can see how two things that appear contradictory do actually work together. The second post considered one of the ends of that horseshoe: trusting God, not only because He is sovereign - but also because He is sufficient in that sovereignty.
Today's post will look at the other end of that horseshoe: Man's responsibility, which, to put it both succinctly and bluntly, is obedience.
I have to be honest - this was the part of the sermon which made me most uncomfortable. I'm quite comfortable with working, doing my best, keeping busy and thinking that the success of any project with which I'm involved depends mostly on me - thus ignoring the sovereignty of God. I'm not so comfortable with the idea that I can be working like mad, doing what I think is best, exhausting myself for good causes... only to finally figure out that it has all been well-intentioned, but good intentions, careful planning and hard work have nothing to do with obedience or disobedience.
I think that is a position where exhausted, burning-out missionaries often find themselves.
I was driving to a doctor's appointment the other day. I'd just navigated a four-way stop and was back up to the 35 mph speed limit... cruising along, my thoughts flying along a lot faster than the car was moving. All of a sudden, the car behind me darted around then lurched back in front of me, cutting me off....
Please join me over @ Missionary Mom's Companion, where I'm posting today, part three in a series on longevity in ministry.