Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Wherever He Leads...

     One of the old favorite hymns that can be found in most church Hymnals is Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go. It is used as an invitational hymn in many services. The chorus of the hymn is:
Wherever He leads, I’ll go,
Wherever He leads, I’ll go,
I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so,
Wherever He leads I’ll go.

     This wonderful hymn is meant to convey the sentiment of the believer’s heart, that wherever Christ sends us, we are willing to go. For followers of Christ, there is no distance too far or no sacrifice too great to make for their Savior. This is what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Even when we don’t completely understand, we trust. So, if all of this is true – if we trust Him and are
willing to go, then why are we still here?

     The Southern Baptist Convention, through the North American and International mission boards support around 10,500 missionaries. Approximately half of those are serving in the United States and Canada, with half of those serving in the southeast United States – the Bible Belt. That means that the area with the greatest concentration of churches also has the greatest concentration of missionaries. If we are willing to go wherever He leads – He isn’t leading us very far. He also isn’t leading us to say very much either. Despite all of our lofty ideals about the Great Commission, making disciples is not really our priority.

     Baptists have a proud history of missionary service. In 1793 William Carey left his home and all that was familiar for India where he would invest his life. In a day when there was no real interest in mission work, Carey dared to follow God’s call. He would labor for seven discouraging years before seeing the first Indian accept Christ. By the time of his death in 1834 he would see hundreds of professions of faith, the Bible translated into several Indian dialects and the end of Suttee (the ritual of burning widows alive on their husband’s funeral pyre).

     Every year Southern Baptists honor the memory of Charlotte Diggs “Lottie” Moon, who gave her life in missionary service to China. At the age of 32 she left her job, a life of privilege and turned down a marriage proposal to set sail for the Tengchow province. Though only standing 4’3” tall she was passionate and unrelenting in her advancement of the Gospel. Lottie once wrote, "How many million more souls are to pass into eternity without having heard the name of Jesus?"

     Even with the commitment of these admirable missionaries and thousands of others who have followed in their footsteps, billions of people still live in unevangelized lands. They will live their entire lives without ever hearing the name of Jesus. Every day tens of thousands of them will die and face eternity without the Savior. They will pay the price for their sins without ever knowing the One who gave His life on their behalf.

     Jesus said that only those who were willing to “pick up their cross” could follow Him. Where He leads requires commitment, it requires sacrifice. Both William Carey and “Lottie” Moon knew what it meant to sing “Wherever He leads, I’ll go.” I often wonder, do we?

     As believers each of us must seek His purpose and be willing to say “Lord, I’ll go wherever…, I’ll do whatever.” It is a scary proposition to think that He might lead us somewhere unexpected or maybe even inconvenient. He might take us out of our comfort zone. But remember, if He is not Lord of our location then He is not really Lord of our lives. Sincerely ask God today, “Where do you want me to go?” “What do you want me to do?” Be open for His answer. Be willing to listen to Him and be willing to go “Wherever He leads.”

In His Service,