Missions Sunday – 28 June 2020
Today we remember. Today we honour those who gave everything in the Vumba massacre. We also honour those who today are laying their lives down for Jesus and His gospel. In doing so, let us take the opportunity to reflect on our own lives.
The call comes with a cost.
For those of you who know the story of Vumba you’ll know only too well the ultimate cost of following Jesus for our missionaries who were serving in Rhodesia.
You see, that story isn't unique. Many followers of Jesus throughout the ages have given their very life in refusal to deny Jesus but in obedience to Jesus.
For you and I, it may not cost us our life physically, literally, but be under no illusion the call to follow Jesus is costly. It will mean that we lay down our agenda, our will, our desires and our goals for our life, in order that we might pick up His.
Also let me just encourage you that to follow Jesus wholeheartedly, to follow that call and to count the cost is the most liberating, the most life-giving, the most full-filling thing that anyone could ever do.
Jesus said if you want to hold on to your life you will lose it, if you lay your life down for me you will gain it.
Having heard the call of Jesus we have to count the cost. There is a cost to following Jesus. The call of Jesus is wonderful and magnificent, it is full of hope and life and yet there is also a cost to it.
We have to lay down our will, our agenda, our hopes, dreams and ambitions for selfish gain and then re-centre ourselves around His purposes and His will and His desires and His call upon our lives; to give our whole self over to Him.
You see, for many of us we may never face the threat of death for following Jesus, we may never be put on the spot and asked to deny Him. We may never face that and yet we deceive ourselves if we don't count the cost.
Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” and I think it’s the same call for us, “Do you love Me?” Do you love Me more than these? Do you love Me more than your life? Do you love Me more than your job? Do you love Me more than your career? Do you love Me more than your family? Do you love Me more than your church? Do you love Me more than your position? Do you love Me more than your car? Do you love Me more than your bike? Do you love Me more than your computer? Do you love Me more than your… you fill in the blank. There is a cost of following Jesus.
But that cost is so worth it because He is life itself. We know that those who are in Christ Jesus even if our life is taken, it is not the end, it does not have the final say. You see Jesus conquered the grave and He is the resurrected Saviour so that everyone who dies in Him - He is the resurrection and the life. The counting the cost is so so worth it.
The wonderful thing about responding to the call and counting the cost is that we don't do this life on our own. We don't walk with Jesus alone, it's not just a you and Jesus thing, it's not just a me and Jesus thing; it's a Jesus and us thing. It's us together collectively, In community.
You see, the counting the cost and following the call is done in relationship one with another and with God. He invites us to participate in the greatest community; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the unity of the godhead. We as individuals and collectively get to participate in this great community and we get to demonstrate what that looks like on earth, as it is in heaven.
We are called to walk together, work together and encourage one another. That's why over the last few months it has been such a privilege for us to see this expression of family delivered through the Elim Relief Appeal. We’ve been able to work with our partners and our Elim family overseas, to meet the needs of the most deprived people on the earth and it is a great joy to be able to invite you, if you've not done so already, to contribute into this great work. We're in this together. When one suffers we all suffer.
This global pandemic has affected us all and yet for those of us who are called to be in Christ Jesus we have an opportunity to demonstrate to a watching world what it is to love one another, even if the one another is in a far-flung place, across borders, across oceans where we together can serve one another because we love one another. May it send a powerful message to a watching world.
International Missions Director