Christianity is unique among the religions of the world because it makes these intentions and motivations of our heart primary. We find throughout the Old Testament prophets that God laments the fact that his people would offer sacrifices and outwardly make good-looking attempts to keep the law yet inwardly their hearts were far from him. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
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I want you to think with me today about the proper motivation for missions. This is important because God is not only concerned with what we do in missions but individually he is concerned with why we do it. Yes, a wrongly motivated missionary may preach a true gospel and some may even come to faith by the grace of God through their ministry but wrong motivations set us up for failure, they are at the best temporary motivations which will sooner or later come crashing down on our heads. However, worse that, wrong motivations do not please our Heavenly Father.
Even above understanding the task God wants us to comprehend the reason and motivation for the task he has called us to do. In fact, I would say that understanding the proper motivation for the task is foundational to understanding the task itself and soon you will see why. In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. He had the 2nd longest reign of all Judean Kings and one of the most peaceful and successful, he built an army of over , men which was greater than the army that his father Amaziah had built before he was conquered by Israel.
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He conquered a number of other peoples around and had taxes coming in from them. He developed the area around Jerusalem significantly. And his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong. Although Uzziah is referred to as a righteous king early on in his reign, he later ran into problems. As is often the case, with his success came pride and with pride came his destruction. Now he had a censer in his hand to burn incense, and when he became angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of the LORD, by the altar of incense.
And they rushed him out quickly, and he himself hurried to go out, because the LORD had struck him. We see a very logical and clear progression in the life of Uzziah. So what happens later in life is when he sees his success rather than attributing it to God Almighty, he grows proud and he believes that his success is because of his own abilities. Pride leads him into the temple with a censer in his hand doing what was clearly laid out in the Law as a job that was given only the the priests who had properly prepared themselves. There were two others instances when someone offered unauthorized fire in the temple.
What these examples show us is the emphasis God himself places on his holiness and his glory.
Some historians say that the earthquake happened when Uzziah entered the temple to burn unauthorized incense. This could be the case and if it is then it makes sense that later we see Isaiah in the temple and once again an earthquake.
How to Live Out Our Call to Holiness and Mission
This is a dangerous situation for any country, any church, or any person to be in. We know that these people would not listen to the message that God gave to Isaiah because just a few verses down God tells Isaiah:. When God tells us he is holy, he is telling us that he is different! Another way to look at it is, you and I are ordinary but God is extraordinary! By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.
Without pretending to serve as an example, I would like to present two realities that I have lived through: one, on a mission in the Central African Republic where I lived for five years ; another, on a mission in Portugal, my home country. Many still do not know the person of Jesus Christ. For this reason, there are many missionaries who, leaving their countries, come to live among these people, announcing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with words and deeds.
The time I lived in this country was shared with other lay people. In fact, in the place where I lived - Mongoumba - there was no community of priests or sisters. Only the laity sought to respond to the challenges of their vocation through the formation of small communities, and it was only after decades of lay presence in these places that a religious community settled down.
In this context, as in any other where one wants to live the essence of the vocation, there is no room for superheroes who are saints on their own. On the contrary, we experience daily that sanctification is a community endeavor, in which all are at the service of the salvific proclamation of Jesus Christ.
This was a time shared with other people, both with other lay people who came from different European countries, as well as with Central African people: Pygmies and Bantus. This represented a daily challenge to the community, but also a call to live the coherence of a life in God.
It could be said that, in Portugal, the life of mission would end, but that would deny the essence of the vocation that springs from baptism. In a supposedly evangelized context, there are permanent cries of despair, discouragement, pain and anguish that demand a daily Christian response.
A mission entrusted to me and to all those who claim to be Christians and become a manifestation of the gift of holiness in the gestures of everyday life: at work, in the University, at home or in any action or sociopolitical space. In this sense, holiness is not the fruit of great theological actions and considerations, nor of great innovations in the pastoral sphere: it results, rather, from the ardor of holiness present in the heart of every Christian, an ardor that urges to mission and makes every believer a true missionary of the Kingdom, regardless of where he or she is located.
It is important to keep in mind that holiness, because it is a gift of God and manifests itself in concrete actions of mission, is not something static, nor definitive, nor something that can only be seen to progress. On the contrary, it is something human, with the ups and downs of human frailty that is slowly maturing and manifesting itself. This dynamism of holiness should not discourage or scare us. Rather, it should spur us, with joy and confidence, to respond to the challenges.
Walking and experiencing life in God should not frighten us: it does not mutilate or enslave us. Rather, it elevates us to the fullness of what we are, fullness reachable by living out the gift of holiness that was given to us by God when He created us. Life in God is not a perfect life, but a life shared with Him who is perfect. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy.
On the contrary, you will become what the Father had in mind when He created you, and you will be faithful to your deepest self. Getting your own copy of "Friends of the Mission" is free.
David Thomas (Founder of the International Holiness Mission)
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