This post is a part of a series by Epic’s Field Ministry & Global Missions teams, describing what it means to be Epic (a.k.a. to embody the Epic Movement DNA).
I remember when I was in college. So often, my days would be all about me – what classes I needed to take, what friends to make so I could “fit in,” how much to study to get the grades I needed, what do people think of me as I’m doing all of this, etc…
Then on the occasional “good” day, I would actually remember that my life really isn’t mine to live. My life is a gift given to me because of what Jesus did on the cross for me! And the gifts He has given me in that gift of life should be used to glorify Him and to serve others.
So what would it look like for you to live out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment in light of your gifts and ministry experience? It can very well be about the classes you take and the friends you make and using the stewardship of being a student and friend for His glory. But more often than not, we let those things take priority over what God is doing in our lives and what He may want us to do in others’ lives.
The best decision I ever made in college that took me outside of myself, and allowed me to see first-hand what it looks like to come face-to-face with people who have never heard of Jesus Christ was when I went on a summer project to East Asia. As someone who came to know Christ at an early age, it was hard for me to truly believe that there are people who may have never met a Christian, held a Bible, or even heard of the name of Jesus Christ.
My friend Cecilia in East Asia changed my life forever that summer! I met Cecilia my first week there. Within the first minute of us meeting on campus, she asked if I was a ‘Christmas’. I was shocked that she didn’t even know the difference between a ‘Christmas’ and a ‘Christian’! I was blessed to be given the opportunity to share the Gospel with her. It was a miracle that she prayed to receive Christ in spite of my poor language proficiency. I then showed her my Bible, and her face completely lit up. She had never seen a Bible before. She held it in the palm of her hands as if it were the most prized treasure she had ever seen! She had tears in her eyes as she held my Bible in her hands and read Jesus’ words.
One of the most amazing parts of this story is that she said the previous Fall semester she actually got really sick and had to withdraw from school. Her condition was so serious that her family flew her to Hong Kong, which was really far from the city the university is located. While she was recovering in the hospital in Hong Kong, she was able to listen to the radio and came across a Christian radio station. She had heard for the first time she could pray, so she did… asking that if God does exist, He would heal her prayer and allow her the opportunity to have someone tell her who He is so she could know Him personally.
As it turned out, it was the following summer that I met her on her campus. She told me that I was the “angel” that God had sent as a direct answer to the prayer she prayed when she was in the hospital. She said that when I told her I was a Christian and started telling her about God, she knew immediately our meeting was in no way a coincidence.
We were able to meet a few more times for follow-up after she had received Christ, but inevitably, we had to leave. A bus picked us up at the foreign student dormitory, and our friends had come to say good-bye. She held my hands the entire time and wouldn’t let go. Tears were streaming down her face, and she said these words that have stayed in my mind ever since. She said, “You can’t leave! You see how many people are on this campus; you see how many people live in this city. You see how many people live in this country, and most of them are like me before God sent you to me. They do not know God! I was lucky to have met you, but I still have so much to learn. Who is going to teach me more about God? Who is going to tell my classmates and my family about God? I can’t do it on my own. Will you come back? You MUST come back!”
As I returned for my senior year of college, not a day went by where I didn’t hear my friend Cecilia’s words being asked back at me. I felt like the Lord was using her words to cause me to surrender my future to Him, especially in regards to possibly being the answer to her question of ‘Will you come back’?
God is not going to call all of us to serve Him in full-time ministry, but He is calling each of us to be fully surrendered to Him. It is not necessary to go overseas to find people who don’t know the Lord. These people exist right where you are today – in your dorm, in your apartment complex, in your classes, in your gyms, and in your families!
So what does it look like for you to live out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment in light of your gifts and ministry experience? SURRENDER! Surrendering leads to being a sent movement.
In the resource “The 5 Things” (http://crupressgreen.com/the-five-things/ or http://vimeo.com/26866729), this is what it says about surrender. “Success starts with surrender. Most Christians don’t purposely walk away from God; rather we drift away. We miss the abundant life Jesus promised and simply settle for “good enough.” How? We choose to hold tightly to our wants and desires, our time and treasures. Unwilling to release it all to Christ, we hoard our lives and, as a result, lose it all.
Have you surrendered to Jesus Christ? Have you wrestled with God about your life and future? Are you willing to go where He wants you to go? Do what He wants you to do? Say what He wants you to say? And give what He wants you to give?”
Let’s be movements that encourage each other to be sent ones to the “Cecilia” in our lives. Step out in faith and have that conversation with your friend, fill out that summer project application, pray about interning or going on Stint, and ultimately, SURRENDER! May you be that “angel” someone is praying for today. You won’t regret it.
Carita Chen, Epic National Global Missions