Sunday, January 16, 2011

Here Am I, Send Me

Getting ready for tomorrow's worship by spending some time praying for my friends who are also pastors. I've been fortunate to establish relationships with men all over the world who have followed Jesus into this role. For the last 20 years of my life, I've given Jesus control of where I lived and what I did with my life. It wasn't something I was looking for, or even something I ever had wanted to do. But once I heard God clearly asking for someone to serve, I answered much like Isaiah did.

The last few years have been spent among people who understand "calling." Our area is filled with men and women who heard their country call and they responded "here I am, send me." There's no way I can ever know of the range of experiences they have had serving our country all over the world, in peacetime and at war. On the other hand, they would have the same limitation in trying to grasp what my family has encountered.

Here's where we meet though - we answered the call. No one really can understand what that will mean.

I was looking at some pictures recently of Jonathan Vandivere's EOD school graduation. I went back to look at them, because word had come to me that one of his instructors had been grievously maimed by an IED. Not too many weeks prior, another former instructor had been killed. I wanted to go back and see if the Gunny was in that picture. I wanted to look at him as he was that day - so confident, so rugged, so much a Marine. Being there that day, among those men and women, was an honor for me. They didn't just volunteer for duty in the armed services, which only 1% of Americans will ever do. They volunteered for EOD work, serving their fellow servicemen and women by putting their lives at risk. The Gunny knew that, and he said "Here am I, send me." That's a hero.

One of my friends in the ministry serves in an area of this country that's been especially hard hit by the recession. Unemployment is well over 20% there, and with jobs being scarce, money is tight. He spent years training for his role as pastor. He stepped forward to go to a smaller church when others wouldn't have gone. He and his wife and ten children live in a home provided by the church. He didn't get a paycheck this week. A part-time job is helping some, and family is too. Looking in from here, he's done everything he can do, and yet his family's welfare is at risk... because he said "here I am, send me." He's a hero of mine too.

Friend, if you're reading this, you need to know that there are people all around you who have stepped up and decided to spend their life for something far greater than just making a living. They weren't willing to look the other way when the need was shown to them.

What about you?

There's a world of opportunities to make a difference with your life. If a smaller church like New Hope has quite a few, imagine what your church might have - what your community might have.

Don't waste the time God gives you by simply making it through the day. Be a difference-maker. Answer the call.

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