Monday, May 22, 2006

Brother, Stay True To Your Calling

I was delighted to spend most of Sunday with Dr. Charles Woodrow. Charles is a medical missionary to Mozambique. He went to that country when it was a Communist-run disaster in the middle of civil war; the poorest country in the world. The only reason he could get in was the desperate need for general surgeons.

Over the last 16 years he has planted churches, distributed thousands of Bibles, been instrumental in many conversions, run the only reliable O.R. in the country, organized national pastor’s conferences, distributed massive amounts of Christian literature, helped the poor and needy, raised 5 kids and done the odd surgery (as in 40 per week).

His ultimate goal in going to Mozambique is summed up in this verse: “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and he is to be held in awe above all gods.” (1 Chronicles 16:24-25).

Wow.

Here is a man who sticks it out in a war-torn, hopeless situation all because he is intent on the greatness and glory of God being known in Mozambique. His ultimate aim was not the conversion to Christ of Mozambiquans – it was the glory of God! Yet, the glory of God means that he and his family were intent on serving these people in every way they could and making themselves the least of all. It was not rocket science – it was just good, old-fashioned Bible religion.

And Charles cannot wait to get back. He just needs another million dollars and he will have the finest hospital in the country for the poorest and neediest of the country. The Lord is remarkable.

Brother, if you are lugging it out in pastoral ministry and feeling tugged by the emergent crowd or the seeker crowd or the relevant crowd or the business model crowd or whatever – do not lose heart, but stay true to your calling! Charles is an example of a life lived to the glory of God and what the Lord will do over time... and suffering.

Everyone told this brother it was emotional and professional suicide to go to Mozambique. But God had other plans! And I believe that He has similar plans for faithful men who willingly pray for their people, preach to their hearts, live with integrity, serve everyone, die to self and... suffer a little bit. If your focus shifts to your comfort and pleasure, you will cash in or burn out. But if the glory of God, our great King-controlling, flood-sending, people-rescuing, preaching-honoring, prayer-answering Creator of all things – if His glory is our goal... then what can stop us?

If you are wavering, remember Charles... and a thousand others like him... laboring in insignificance, sorrow and suffering... and delighting every day in the greatness of their God.

“He is no fool...”