You need to be equipped for the job
Men love a challenge and none greater than the call to follow Christ says Mark Lyndon-Jones.
Many years ago an advertisement appeared in a London newspaper: "Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success."
It was signed by the famous Arctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. Thousands of men responded to the appeal because they were willing to embrace a difficult job when called to do so by a great leader.
Two thousand years ago, if Christ had placed an advertisement in a similar manner it may have read, "Men (and women) required to help build my church. You will often be misunderstood and face constant attack from an invisible enemy. You may not see the full results of your efforts and your reward may not be received until your work is completed. It may cost you everything you have, material goods, personal ambition and even your life!" (Warren Wiersbe)
In recent times, a number of television programmes have called people to the challenge of enduring SAS style military training exercises and tough physical regimes. Featuring office workers, van drivers, GP’s, Personal Fitness Trainers, and others from all walks of life and backgrounds their personal stories unfold as the series continues.
Stories of men once boys unfold in light of the challenges presented by the competitive need to survive the course and the weekly cut of the weakest candidates. I usually find it quite gripping TV as I love to hear the story of a person especially when personal faith features – the stories of tragedy and triumph that motivate men to be the men they’ve become or those whom God calls them to be.
Programmes such as 'SAS Who Dares Wins' on Channel 4 seek to re-create the world's most demanding selection process 'hosted' by the ex-Special Forces Team. I observed that as one candidate or another is dropped from selection each week they seek to leave the training camp with their personal pride intact (not always easy when you’ve given your all), as well as their Bergen or Kitbag checked for completeness and strapped to their backs – a man cannot complete his journey without being equipped for the job!
A few months ago as I was praying and planning into MPower’s future, and the army of men that exists as part of our Elim family, I was reminded of the picture of these guys with a SAS Bergen strapped to their backs. Walking through the gates of the camp back into the jungle of life, in which many of us exist, with everything needed to survive in their carefully packaged Bergen.
My thoughts turned to the everyday guys like you and me called to the adventure of a lifetime in Christ.
He’s called us and chosen us – and unlike the re-created SAS training camps he’s not going kick us out if we don’t make the grade because it was all about His grace anyway. The Psalmist had been a triumphant warrior in his time equipped for survival in a war zone, but he was also a worshipper.
In Psalm 43 he requests some specific equipment from God for his veritable Bergen. “Give me your lantern and compass, give me a map, so I can find my way to the sacred mountain, to the place of your presence, to enter the place of worship...” (Ps 43:3-4).