And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2
Being on the mission field, this is a prayer that my husband and I pray a lot. “Oh Lord, send people who will walk with us, side by side in the work you have called us to. Send people who are willing to labor, willing to sacrifice; send people who have a like heart, who are loyal and faithful, who burn with a passion for You, a desire to serve You…”
A shortage of trustworthy, dedicated laborers is an ever present issue for many ministries. It is difficult to find people, native or foreign, who are willing to put in the work that it takes to conduct outreaches and other enrichment programs; it is tough to find people who are willing to give up personal comforts and potentially risk their well-being and safety to evangelize, to preach the Gospel to unreached people who may lash out in anger against messengers of the Living God.
Becoming a foreign missionary is challenging on many levels, and I fully understand why many aren’t ready to answer that call, preferring to stay in their own neighborhoods. But I often wonder if there is a greater obstacle that is a discouragement to people.
As I began to hear the call to India, I often questioned: Why would God choose me? I have nothing to offer, my spotty past makes me ineligible to serve the Lord!?
I couldn’t see past my failings; I didn’t understand how God could use me, when I had sinned so much in my life. I felt my past overshadowed my present, my future, my ability to serve.
As I read the Bible and the Lord’s voice grew stronger, I began to understand that God did not call me because of what I had to offer, because I had everything I needed for the commission, or because I was sinless. He called me because He has a plan to use me despite of my lack, my failings, regardless of my sin, to show His glory through me.
Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God…” Judges 16:28a
Samson is a perfect example of a man used by God to accomplish His purposes, to act as a judge for Israel, in spite of the sin in his life. He was a man given to sins of lust, frequenting prostitutes and engaging in premarital sex. He was full of pride, anger, unforgiveness, and a craving for vengeance. He was a murderer. But, God chose him, gave him strength, and used him give Israel’s enemies a thrashing many times over.
Samson’s story shows me that God has called all of His children, that He has a specific purpose for everyone, even for me. Samson’s story reminds me that, though my past may be filled with shameful things, God is greater than my weaknesses. He takes away my shame and gives me the strength that I need. He equips me for my assignment to labor for the harvest.
Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.