Missions, Pop-Level Theology

I thought that I was excited

I thought that I was excited.

I had preached the gospel in a church plant that morning. Ephesians 2:1-10 is my go-to gospel text. I can’t help but get all worked up when I preach that one. After lunch, we climbed into a van and headed for the beach. I had my flip flops on and I was going to speak to a young family/church about discipleship. But this was no ordinary discipleship sermon. This served the dual purpose of being a charge to a candidate for baptism. Obviously, the occasion called for the Great Commission found in Matthew 28. I can’t help but get all worked up about that one either. It was going to be a great afternoon. The sun was shining and everything seemed perfect.

I thought that I was excited.

We pull the van into the little village that sits about a mile from the water. This was my third trip. On previous visits we had discussions about a man in search of a fine pearl who was pleased to purchase it. We had spoken of God’s design of the gospel moving forward by sending so that people may preach so that people may hear so that people may believe. Now, it was time to celebrate. We had come to baptize Dye-Lyn, a 16 year old girl who had made a decision a week before I had arrived. What a wonderful afternoon for a baptism!

I thought that I was excited.

When I entered into the small bamboo and thatch house we had met in before, there was an obvious buzz in the air. People were dressed far beyond what I had witnessed on previous visits. Preparations were being made. Dye-Lyn was in the other room getting dressed. Her mother wrapped jackfruit in banana leaves and put them in a basket. Her father, who had worn cut off jean shorts and an open shirt during our previous meetings now had on full length corduroy pants and had buttoned his shirt all the way to the top. He was trying his best to put on a bright yellow watch that was normally kept hanging on the wall. A crowd was beginning to gather around the house.

I thought that I was excited. But I had absolutely nothing on this family.

It was time to head to the beach so 19 people and a 5 month old baby girl piled into the van. The rest walked. Luckily the trip was only 4 minutes. When we all had managed to peel ourselves out, we walked out to a little pavilion on the rock beach. We were technically on private property but no one seemed too concerned with that. Their smiles were so big.

We sang a hymn. Something in Cebuano that I could not understand. But I didn’t need to. It was gorgeous. Not in a technical way but in a real way. There are lots reasons that I love missions and think it to be important. If you’re reading this then it’s likely you’ve heard me teach on that concept before. But this is my favorite of all the reasons I don’t normally talk about: I love to hear God be praised in a language that has absolutely no need of my input. It is simultaneously humbling and exalting.

I thought I was excited. But my excitement had room to grow.

The fountain of joy that God has laid at the feet of those who follow Him in taking His gospel to the world is inexhaustible. And just when you think you have reached the bottom of the cup, you find that you have only begun to sip from the edge.

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