The world tries to homogenize us. We pick a major and from there are all put into the same classes, learning the same things, to get the same degree and apply for the same kind of jobs. We aren’t created to be robots though. We are created with a desire to learn specific things (passion) and our will takes over and acts upon those things. The church has one unified purpose but we all have separate passions and if we all pursue the passions God placed in our lives, imagine how “loud” we would become in that unified purpose! We aren’t here doing what we’re doing to try and make Jesus Christ great. He already is great! Our purpose is to make Him known and God doesn’t wait on our American timelines.
1 Corinthians 12:14-26 – If we were created to be a leg, we can’t do the kidney’s job and if we were created to be an ear, we can’t take the place of a lung. We are all part of the body of Christ, each of us a different piece with a different part to play. We are all an irreplaceable part and His body will not be all that it’s destined to be on this Earth if every part isn’t fully functional and healthy. We need all people to do all things to reach all people, which is why God placed different passions in each of our hearts.
No one thinks about Charles Dickens, J.K. Rowling, Abraham Lincoln, Johnny Cash, Robin Williams, Julie Andrews, or George Washington and wonders why they chose the path they did in life. No one thinks they were unskilled in their chosen field because they weren’t. When we talk about these people and many others, we talk about their talent and their names are carried from generation to generation because each one of them found true love in the passion God instilled in them and they pursued these passions, impacting generations.
Candis Jones may not be a name you’ve heard but I’m telling you her name now because it’s one many will remember. Maybe not in the way a celebrities name is remembered but in the way people remember those who pour out true love into each person around them, despite the boundaries and judgments our world tries to plague our minds with daily. Candis Jones will be remembered years from now in the minds of those who were taught about and shown God’s love through her as they find eternity and life to be a gracious gift presented freely by our Father.
Last Sunday, our pastor talked about a guy who sent him an email talking about how him and his wife had been praying about where God was leading them and they felt that Galveston was that place. Our pastor pointed out that they weren’t making that decision because of the beaches, or pleasure pier, or anything other cool thing Galveston has to offer. They were making that decision because they felt called to serve here. Candis has been praying for over 3 years about Africa and many times we have had conversations about how she wants to be sure it’s His will for her life and not just her own and I can say with pure confidence that His desires for her life have become her desires. She won’t have beaches, pleasure pier, Starbucks, Saltgrass Steakhouse, Chick-fil-a, a car, constant access to internet, her family will be thousands of miles away, the friendships and family she has created here in Galveston will be thousands of miles away and yet, she is doing more than most of us do. She is willing to set aside every comfort and convenience to follow the passion and plan He has for her life. She may get upset with me for saying this but I can’t tell you how many times now I’ve watched her cry at night with tears torn between the lack of support she is getting and the overwhelming feeling of thankfulness and gratitude toward the few who are supporting her and it breaks my heart. To her it’s not about the financial support, she believes God will provide if it’s His will, but support in the form of encouragement and prayer. Not all of us are called to be missionaries to other countries but those of us who aren’t shouldn’t be putting blinders up to those who are going because we are afraid to think outside our cozy little box of a life. It’s our duty to pray for those who go and yes, to support them financially and encourage them.
It hurts my heart to see someone who is willing to give everything up to bring others to Christ only being encouraged by a few close friends and family members and I know how thankful she is for those few but that doesn’t change the fact that those of us sitting back are failing in our commitment as her brother’s and sister’s in Christ. She wants to go and spread the good news and we feel uncomfortable encouraging her in that because a young girl traveling to another country alone to spread God’s word is too uncomfortable for us. I trust God and His plan for her life and I absolutely commend her for taking such a huge step of faith. She is going to spread the amazingly wonderful news of our Father’s love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness! Most of us can’t manage to do that in the comfort of our own home but she is willing to step outside of everything because His love for us is breathtaking and she wants everyone to know just that.
Candis spends everyday working with families we are scared to even look at or talk to. She spends each day working with kids who grow up in homes with little stability. She does a job most of us would never even consider because we are scared of what we don’t know or what’s unfamiliar to us. How many of us ask her about her job? How many of us keep up with the families she works with? How many of us pray for her and the lives she encounters? How many of us volunteer to help her throughout the week? How many of us do that for any of the people surrounding us?
I’m guilty of not asking about her job or the people she works with, not volunteering or praying for her and the lives she touches each day. I’m guilty of not thinking about the work the people around me are doing because I’m too caught up in my own life. I realize more than ever just how selfish that is. My life and His plans for my life or the things going on in my life are no better than a single person around me. My opportunity for impact is no bigger than a single person’s around me because the celebration held for one soul led to Christ is equal to that of five thousand. We make life about us like a guy proposing to his girlfriend at his best friend’s wedding reception.
She has the opportunity to talk to people who may never hear about God otherwise and she is acting on that opportunity and calling.
When used in scripture, the Latin etymology for the word passion frequently translates as “to suffer for”. Christ had passion for us. He was willing to suffer for us because He loved us so much. Agapea: a love we can never fully understand. And we are called to find our passion, the thing we love doing so much that we are willing to suffer.
Everyday when I go home, I see someone who pours out her heart and suffers at times because she wants so badly to love on those we turn our backs to and she wants to teach them daily about how wonderful of a God we serve, the one who gave His son for each and everyone of us, not just some of us. What she does on a daily basis leaves me speechless when I try and describe it because it’s so rare to see people willing to go past ankle deep in their faith and service because they trust God entirely with their life.
Imagine being thousands of miles away from everything you know, everything you’re comfortable with and the people you’ve grown close to and feeling like you don’t have support from those back home. Put yourself in her shoes. She is going to do amazing things through Christ and I pray that each day, every one of us can have that same faith and trust in Him.
No one in the universe is saved without a witness.
You can visit Candis’ blog at candisjones.blogspot.com
TAKE THE PLUNGE: A Challenge For Us All
- Move in with God – God didn’t send His son so we could live in 11 inches of spiritual bliss. He is an ocean of grace and He wants us to dive in. Make the most of your relationship with Him by letting Him take you to the deep end.
- Work – Most people miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work but we need all people to do all things to reach all people so we must become all things to all men that by all means we may save some. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
- Be willing to take a step in faith – Once you find the pull of where you’re going, you’ll never be satisfied with where you’re standing. You don’t sit down until the work is finished and as we do the work, God does the work in us.
- Find your passion and pursue it for His purpose – We are unified in a specific purpose despite our passion and the combination of our voices is louder than a single voice. Commit to being uniquely who you are.
- Step outside your comfort zone – God never called us to stay in our comfort bubble.
May you struggle well! -Hayley