i am called by God to ...

Johnathon asked:

i am called by God to proclaim the Gospel to the nations. i have no other desire except to see people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Not by my own words, rather, the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Christianity seems too business-like, why is that? i love people and long to see them filled with God's joy. i am ready to serve full time in missions, but the only education that i have is the "call" into God's amazing ministry. are there any suggestions that you may have?

Jack Answered:

Hi, Johnathon! I praise God for your love for Him and your passion to see others come to know Jesus. You ask why Christianity seems "too businesslike." Do you say this because you find people asking you about your educational level? As you have discovered in your own life, God is able to use anyone, regardless of their formal academic preparation. In fact, it is interesting that one of the observations that the Jewish Council leaders made of the disciples, Peter and John, was that they were "uneducated and ordinary men" (Acts 4:13), but filled with the extraordinary power of God. Note the life of Gladys Aylward, featured in the movie "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness." She was turned down by a mission board because of an academic learning disability. However, so convinced was she of her call, that she went on her own and God used her in China in an amazing way.

However, as we continue to move through the New Testament and then on to Church History, we find that God also has a high appreciation for formal preparation, such as we see in the life of Paul, the Apostle, highly trained both in secular knowledge (note his references to the Greek poets in his sermon on Mars Hill in Athens, Acts 17) and the Jewish Scriptures.

Communicating the Gospel in any context requires a sensitivity to people and their worldview - their understanding of what is real and what is important. But this is particularly true when we seek to reach a people of another culture and/or another belief system. Mission agencies have discovered that certain basic educational requirements have helped them field people who will normally be more effective in the very difficult task of planting the Church in new soil than if they didn't have this preparation. However, all the education and sensitivity in the world, without the personal knowledge and experience of a deep walk with God, will not produce anything truly significant or lasting.

So, my brother, keep on sharing your joy with others, but take advantage of any and all opportunities of training, formal or otherwise, and be patient with those who lean more on the academic side. We all need to learn from others.

Jack

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