As I write this week I am sitting on the back porch at my in-laws’ house in West Palm Beach. As I enjoy the warmth of the sunshine, I am reminded of how much we like to be comfortable. And honestly the afternoon has been great as I listened to some music, did some reading, etc. Yet I am here so I can hop a plane in the morning to the Dominican Republic for some outreach.
Often times people look at me funny when they hear of me going to other countries to reach out with the Gospel of Christ. To most it is simply not a reasonable thing. From many I hear that I need to be careful because things are bad in this world. (Not sure if people have noticed that even in the USA things are bad…) Many will make remarks that there is enough need in the USA to keep us busy, so why spend time over “there” (wherever my “there” is on a given trip.)
I was recently asked to speak in a “missions” chapel and I keyed on the word “mission” as being something that has a purpose and a plan. Christ was very clear with our purpose: Preach the gospel and make disciples! (Matthew 28 and Mark 16) The Apostle Paul was moved by the Holy Spirit in his second letter to the Corinthians, in the 5th chapter, to remind us that we have been called to be “ambassadors” with a purpose of helping others be “reconciled to God.” Our PURPOSE is never changing: share the life-giving message of salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ!
Yet our game PLAN changes often on how to get the Word out. Often I use sports camps/clinics; other times we take in doctors for medical clinics; yet other times I am simply given a platform from which to speak; and sometimes it is as simple as sitting next to someone on the airplane, taking interest in them, and seizing opportunities to share a message of hope.
As a coach I design different sets and plays; I teach players to “take what the defense gives them”; I go into games with different plans, yet one purpose – get the ball in the hole more times than the opponent. (As a player I prided myself on being able to get my shot off no matter who [or how many people] was on me – I had a purpose!)
Therefore as a Christian I have been given a purpose from God – to know Him and to make Him known. I will go and share the Gospel! Will you?
(As a humorous ending I will tell a story on my buddy David. We were coaching a game and the players were not performing very well. David called a timeout in his frustration and brought the boys into the huddle. His great words of wisdom were as follows: “You see that round orange thing up there? The ball is supposed to go through it!” And then we broke from the huddle. I have often laughed at the simplicity of that timeout. Yet it was also very profound. We know what we are supposed to do; so why aren’t we?)