This morning I was having coffee with a good friend here in Liberia. He has been my guide, my brother, my compadre. He and his family (wife and two kids) are getting ready to depart from Liberia after 18 months of bringing safe drinking water to thousands of people. They will return to the States for six months then off to another country to serve. They’ve been at this for over ten years now. Whether it’s bringing safe water or the Gospel lived out, this family is a ray of light in darkness. They’re beautiful people to say the very least.
As we were discussing our highs and lows (mostly lows, ha), he asked me, “How do I tell people back in the States this is what they should do? How do we convince a body of Christ living so comfortably to abandon all of that, and take up their Cross, and go, because that is what Jesus calls us to do?”
The question is one I ponder often. However, for me, this whole living in the third world is very new. I was posing this very question to myself only months ago, and still, struggle wanting to stay. Although, I had the hand of God pushing me to make a move I was pushing right back telling him, “What about my kids? What about our health? What about our family? What about our home? What about my sanity? What if one of my children die? What if we’re not successful? What if my wife grows to hate me? What if my children fall behind? What if, God? What if I lose ALL my comforts”?
“That’s perfect!” He said, “Then, you can have all of Me.”
We read in Philippians “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.”
David Platt suggests to take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side at the top write LOSS. Now, under loss jot down everything that means the most to you. Family, job, kids, church, food, cars, school, music, a/c, friends, etc. Whatever you find joy or comfort in daily, write it down.
Now, on the right side write GAIN at the top and underneath it write one word… Christ.
David Platt believes that this means if we’re obedient to God, and we happen to lose ALL of the things in the LOSS column, then we’re okay, because what do we gain? Christ. This is a radical way to think, I know. It’s amazingly tough for me to wrap my head around daily, but it’s what He tells us through Paul.
Do you know what I think could be the worst thing that could happen to me or someone close to me? Death. Period. For some reason, I have it in my mind that death is to be feared, to be avoided by all cost, but in Scripture Jesus tells me he has conquered death, and now death is the BEST thing that could happen to me if I’m a believer. Wow. That’s a radical way to think, and an even more radical way to live, but isn’t it how the apostles, disciples, and saints before us lived out their life? I don’t recall Paul, writing much about not visiting a particular city because the healthcare was sketchy. I don’t remember Peter refusing to preach because the pay was not enough, or the audience wasn’t big enough. I haven’t read everything about Mother Teresa, but I have yet to find a book where it talks about how she will only serve people if she can vacation in Florida for a few weeks out of the year because she feels she only can rest with Jesus when she has a margarita, beach chair, and the blue ocean in front of her. That’s a negative. She found Jesus in the poorest of the poor, exactly where Jesus said He would be.
So, how do we convince people to go? How do I convince myself and my family to keep going? I think the question is answered by another question, that I heard from a very radical disciple, Nik Ripken (author of The Insanity of God).
“Is Jesus worth it?” Is he worth “everything” lost? Is he worth the discomfort? Is he worth the sick days? Is he worth the pain of separation from family? Is he even worth the life of your loved ones?”
I hope I answer yes to this question every morning I wake up, and I pray you will join God wherever he is calling you even if it cost you your entire life. It’s worth it. He’s worth it. And He thought you were worth it.