May. May is always a big month for us. Our anniversary is in May…celebrating 11 years together this year! Tyler’s birthday is also in May. On top of that we have several family members with birthdays and of course there is Mother’s Day. It’s been a fun month of celebrating and spending time with family. But this year, the celebrating was also a little bittersweet knowing this will likely be the last time to celebrate these special days with our loved one’s on American soil for several years.
There is always this tension…living in the moment, loving and enjoying the amazing gifts and relationships that God blesses us with on this earth, while at the same time living in light of eternity and storing up treasures in heaven rather than on earth. Colossians 3:1-3 says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” How do we love with all we have but not be too attached to earthly blessings and relationships? Finding that balance is always hard. We did not arrive at a place of peace on this subject overnight, nor without much patience and grace from God in the midst of the process. And there are isolated days where, if given the choice, we might choose ease of life. But at the end of the day God has put it in our hearts that it is more important in view of eternity to help take the Gospel to the Italian people…a very lost and forgotten people group…rather than enjoying ease of life. For me I have to put this in practical terms each and every day. It goes something like this, “It is more important for us to share Jesus with the people of Italy than it is for us to celebrate birthdays with loved ones.” “It’s more important for us to spread the Gospel than it is for my children to have ease of life.” “It is more important for the lost to grasp the Gospel of grace than it is for us to have disposable income to eat out or go on vacation.” These are actual thoughts and conversations Tyler and I have on a regular basis. It’s one way we stay focused with our eye on eternity.
Paul puts it this way, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14. The resurrection of Jesus changes everything! If we as Christ’s church are living in light of eternity, we can joyfully sacrifice our comforts and material things and humbly, but willingly leave behind loved ones to do what God has called us to. (Mark 10:29-30). We are not “special” because we are missionaries. No, God has this high calling for all believers. It just looks different for everyone. What is God calling you to do in light of eternity? Are you living each day for the so-called “American Dream,” or are you storing up treasures in heaven? Maybe God is calling you to be a missionary. Or maybe He is calling you to a different line of work where He wants to use you to advance the Gospel. Or maybe He is calling you to share the Gospel by pursuing racial reconciliation in your community or city. Maybe He’s asking you to be a foster parent. Never in a million years did we think we would “grow up and be missionaries.” But God can do anything with His children who are willing! We want to challenge you to take a step of faith. You will not regret it!
“Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith- That I may know him and the power of his resurrection and may share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” —– Philippians 3:8-11