The Gospel Positioning System never fails.
Well into his second missionary journey, the Apostle Paul kept bumping into closed doors. Visa problems? No. Spiritual warfare? No. It was God directing him to Macedonia. The clearest signal came in the port city of Troas, where Paul had a vision of a Macedonian man calling for help.
The Macedonian call has been misunderstood as the call of God to missions, or to a certain country for life. For example: “I’m called to China.” Or: “God has called me to India.” This misguided notion has discouraged many Christians young and old from stepping out in simple obedience to the Great Commission.
Why? Because they are still waiting around for a vision in the night or a voice from heaven sending them hither or thither.
Preach the Gospel to every person. Make disciples of all peoples to the end of the age.
In the Book of Acts, however, John Mark, Silas and Timothy didn’t wait for blood moons and blue moons before stepping out in missions. They simply responded to Paul’s bidding.
And as for Paul, he had already received the call of God in his mother’s womb. He heard the call in his youth at Damascus. Then in Antioch, some 10 years later, he was set apart for the work to which he had already been called (Acts 13:2).
The Macedonian call, therefore, was not the call of God to the ministry or missions. It was a one-off instance of divine guidance, re-directing a seasoned apostle to the continent of Europe where Christ was not named.
I was never called, wrote Dick Hills, founder of OC International. I was never called to China, although I served there as a missionary for 18 years … I saw no flash of light; I heard no voice from heaven. My call is the call to be a teacher. I used it in Asia for years. I can use it just as well at home.
So, are you still waiting for a mysterious vision, voice or dream? You may be waiting till the stars fall from heaven. God has spoken: Go into all the world. Preach the Gospel to every person. Make disciples of all peoples to the end of the age.
Duty calls. Don’t wait till you need a walking stick. Step out now while you still can, on your own two feet. The Macedonian call assures us that God will guide you as you go. The Gospel Positioning System never fails.
But it works better when you get moving.
Fast and pray
Martin Luther admitted that although he received great insight into God’s will for his life from the Bible and from the counsel of friends, he never received a dramatic call to his life work. Often, he said, circumstances simply propelled him into God’s assignments (Bob Sjogren, Bill and Amy Stearns).
- All are called. But many are mistaken.
They assume that only pastors and full-time church staff are called. Truth is, every Christian without exception is called:
We are called to be disciples. (Acts 11:26)
We are called to be holy. (Romans 1:7)
We are called to be saints. (1 Corinthians 1:2)
We are called to be witnesses for Jesus. (Acts 1:8)
We are called to be the salt of the earth and light of the world. (Matthew 5:13-16)
We are called to do the work of the ministry. And some are called to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-12)
Pray: Lord, forgive us. We have neglected and despised the basic callings that apply to every believer. To be disciples. To be saints. To be witnesses. To be salt and light. We have grieved our spiritual leaders who must account for our souls (Hebrews 13:17). Today, we surrender our lives to You. We pledge to submit to our pastors and leaders. You have placed them over us to disciple and train us for the work of the ministry — until we are fully developed and flourishing in our basic callings wherever You have placed us. May we be found faithful in little, faithful in much.
- All are called. But some are making excuses.
Just because we’re not sure which specific ministry we are called to, we sit around doing nothing. Dear disciple, just do whatever your hand finds to do, and do it with all your might. Go to your pastor and volunteer. If your heart is in the right place, you will be just as happy sweeping the floor backstage as you would be preaching onstage in the Sports Hub. It really does not matter. Brother Lawrence who wrote Practising the Presence of God spent 15 years washing dishes. He was as happy as a little child. Pray, therefore: Dear Lord Jesus, by Your mercy, I present myself a living sacrifice on Your altar. I consecrate my body, soul and spirit to You. My time, my talents, my sphere of influence, and all that I have are Yours forever. Come, live in me. Walk with me. I open my heart to follow You. I present my hands to do Your work — whatever, wherever, whenever You please. I am ready.
- All are called. But some are bouncing off closed doors.
Don’t be hasty to blame the devil. It might be God. Pray: Lord, You are the Mission Director. Thus far You have helped us. Lead Your evangelists, pastors, mission leaders and missionaries to the fields that are ripe and ready for harvest. Use the Singapore Church to break new ground in the least evangelised cities and peoples across Asia and beyond. Open doors of faith that no one can shut. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Read the devotional from Day 14: Historic Summit here.