Thursday, October 4, 2012

We Are Gathered Here Today

"This seems more like a funeral."  Giggles and laughter filled the room.  "When you have a bunch of people gathering to say nice things about you, you normally aren't alive to hear it."  More...giggles...and grins.  This was a direct quote from a China-bound couple who have been called to the international mission field and are on their way to a new life.  

Being a mission-minded couple, they're no stranger to radical way of life.  They have already been living out the Great Commission in their everyday lives.  The Mr. had been teaching-leading-mentoring a small church for 20 years.  In fact, he left a full-time, safe and secure income and devoted all efforts to a local food pantry, as he poured into his church and community.  The Mrs. wasn't shy in her radical efforts either as she was the strong force behind the children's, youth, women's and prayer ministries.

So how does an established couple, who are well rooted in the community and surrounded by loving children and grandchildren, get to a place in their ministry lives that they are willing to leave everything behind for a people group that they don't know?  

One reason...Heaven waits.

As I listened to all of the memories shared about Mr. & Mrs., one word that came to mind.   When I thought about all the ways my family had been impacted by their Christian witness, it could be summed up as....devotion.  They have a devotion to the gospel, they have a deep devotion to share it, and a deeper devotion to the One who is calling them to go. 

So in a sense the couple did attend at their own funeral for ministry as they knew it.  The Sending was a good-bye.  So long to their former life of a stateside pastor with a nifty packaged church.  And a hello to their new ministry life with their obedient missionary hearts, fresh-squeezed with compassion.  Plus a radical devotion to truth that will color their new church page. 

Their devoted service speaks volumes to me.  Their sacrifices will be great,  but their rewards for obedience will be greater.  

Because Heaven waits.
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