Last night, one of my colleagues attended a goodbye dinner party for a couple who has been working in southern Africa for quite some time. For about 60 years, this Canadian husband and wife have been ministers of the Gospel in several countries including Angola, Tanzania, Kenya, and most recently Zambia, and they have finally decided to retire and leave Africa.
I first set foot on African soil in 2008. If my information is correct, these Canadians probably arrived sometime in the 1950s. David Livingstone saw Victoria Falls for the first time in November 1855 on one of his treks across the continent. Countless other men and women over the centuries have left their homelands and journeyed into the unknown because God led them in his work of making his name known throughout the earth. I and my friends here are a tiny part of the story of how God has revealed himself and continues to do so to the people of Africa and an even tinier part of how he is working in this vast world.
Whether we are living close to where we were born or in a foreign culture on the far side of the planet, we have the same job description. Location and language have absolutely no bearing on our responsibilities. Our only mission is to make Christ known among the people of Earth.
This is nothing new. I might employ faster and more adrenaline-inducing transportation techniques than Dr. Livingstone, but the message of the Gospel hasn't changed. I am just the next one to step up to take my place among those who have come before. They did the work they were called to do and have finished the race and stepped aside. The world continues to change and my job particulars are like none that have ever come before but all I'm really doing is picking up the baton from the one behind and carrying it on forward.
We are part of something big my friends. The Kingdom of God is alive and moving and we have the privilege of carrying out our small but never insignificant duties within it. I am here and you are there but we're both serving our Father. I can't do your job and you can't do mine and the second we think we're the best thing since sliced bread we've lost because we have nothing and are nothing outside of Christ, whom we've given our lives to and received everything from.
So be encouraged. God knows what he's doing. I have no idea what I'll be doing when I'm the age of those Canadians but I know what I'm doing now. I think I'll just start here and see what happens.