Thursday, October 22, 2009

Off Limits?

I was talking to my dad yesterday- he's 75- about how encouraged/convicted I have been while reading the Hudson Taylor bio.

He has read the 2 volume set I have, "Growth of a Soul" is the first. We talked about Hudson and about where I am in the book and then I said that it doesn't seem like there are many of those kinds of people around now. What happened to the men who have stood out in history like those missionaries from the 1820-1920? Why was there so many very high peaks in the human landscape through that century and why is the landscape so much flatter now?

Why did God bless these men with such amazing ministry success? Is that possibility gone from this earth? What made men like this so special that God chose to bless their ministry so greatly?

I am not God and His ways are not my ways; His thoughts are not my thoughts, but as I read about Hudson Taylor the first thing that comes to my mind is that he didn't care what happened to him personally, his aim was to be where God wanted him to be, doing what God wanted him to do and it didn't matter if he was comfortable or not. He truly left all for Christ for a greater reward.

We have a great cloud of witnesses before us as examples of what that looks like, but I have bought into the lie that I should be comfortable in my ministering. It seems especially hard, in America, to live out the idea that this life is not our own. How can we be spent/poured out for God when we only have a few drops left when we are finished. How are we going to be used to extinguish the fires of hell in the lives of those around us when we have but a few drops left at the end of each day?

I want to be used by God in whatever and wherever He wants to use me, but I have already spent a good portion-yet to be determined in a percentage- of my life on my own comforts and pleasures. My desire is to give the Lord the balance, but for those much younger than I, there is still the opportunity to be a high peak, sticking out of the cloud of humanity, but this requires not looking to be comfortable in this life.

How awesome would it be if the next Hudson Taylor were in our SS class or in or youth ministry, or attending seminary next year? We have to encourage them to look past the pleasures of this life and to live on unseen things- a greater reward in the next life, rather than to live for the weekend.

Pray for those who might answer the call and resolutely run to win the real prize, forgetting what is behind, throwing off every encumbrance and then run with endurance. Pray that we "old" people would help them to see what could be if they would allow God to do His work without restriction.

The stories in the Bible and the biographies are for our encouragement. We can be used by God in a mighty way, but we must be willing to leave all behind to follow Him and not put up any "off limits" signs for Him.


Alicia said...

Perhaps there are not these men because we are living in America and not seeing the other people like this in other countries.

Perhaps there are not these men/women in America because Hudson Taylor was not earthly practical. (And Americans must be "practical".) Taylor used his imagination for the glory of the Lord and allowed the Lord to go immeasurably beyond all that he could think or imagine.

We don't live on unseen things. We like the comfort of the seen plan.

Perhaps we are too afraid of the earthly and supposed failure.

(I am beginning to be more and more willing...but the question does come, "Is that foolish? Am I looking at this in a practical way? Why not stay here? Is that what God would have for you? Are you being content with such things as you have? Maybe it's just emotional and not reality."

I am glad I came to your blog. I have never been before. Thanks for writing.

Chuck Weinberg said...

Oh the questions that are put in our minds by those who have no business putting them there.

Just as he heard the call to go to China, when asked what his plan was for support while in China, and Hudson answered he was going fully trusting God to supply all his need, like the disciples were told not to even take a "purse", Hudson was told by a long time missionary-which he respected much- "that was fine in Jesus' day but will not do now".

God's ways are not our ways and we can't understand His thoughts- but we must obey His voice and He will open doors when He wants us to go.

I can think of no more exciting thing than to hear of God's work in a life and we will all be praying for you A-Mart as God pounds and shapes you. Don't listen to the fray around you- listen to the One who knows and is the Way.

We would love for you to stay here and bless us with your love for the Lord, but if God calls you somewhere else then we will rejoice in His adding all these things to you.

Thanks for chiming in and for the encouragement you are to our family and ministry. God is using you right now.

~Kim (and family) said...

Hi Chuck! I thought I would encourage you by telling you about my dad. God saved him at age 65, about 2 years ago now. At first my dad was very grieved by the time he wasted living practically his entire life for himself. But he dug deep in the Bible daily and listened to many sermons throughout the week online, and grew quickly in his wisdom and love for God. Right now drives he visits a prison and nursing home weekly, telling those people it is not too late. He is seeing big fruit in the prison right now. I think sometimes we think (including myself) that it's too late! But I always am reminded it is not when I see the work God has done in my own dad's life and how he has responded to the call.