Over 30 people signed up for the 30/30/30 Challenge – woohoo! Thank you to everyone who has been enthusiastic about supporting me. I’ve also raised about 55% of my financial expenses. If anyone is interested in giving financially, click here to check out the “Give” section to see how to donate.
While putting together information to send out to everyone who signed up to pray for me, I looked for a map of Tanzania to use as part of the package. I ended up picking a map that used fun colors and font and looked old-school. During the middle of my printing, cutting, glueing, and spreadsheeting ruckus, I realized that the map was of different kinds of soils in Tanzania.
And I thought to myself, “That’s kind of random…”
But then I realized it was perfect. God is into the details, as my mom says, and He totally orchestrated this one right in front of my face.
See, God has really challenged me with stories about dirt during this past year.
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24-25)
Reading through the “Live Dead Journal” and prepping for this trip to Tanzania has made me face some hard questions. Am I willing to sacrifice my life, in pieces or as a whole, for God’s kingdom that I can’t really see here on earth? Am I willing to hold God as the first priority in my life, above my preferences, desires, and comfort? Am I willing to keep going where God leads, even if it seems like He leads me farther away from things I love and hope for (family, a family of my own, things familiar, things I understand)?
If I’m honest, the answer is a resounding “no” that surprises me; all that doesn’t really sound like fun. For a second, I’m jealous of those who are ignorant of the gospel because they aren’t “obligated” to live their lives for someone other than themselves.
I need to hear the gospel again.
I forget that before Christ, I was already dead. Dead as in “da-yea-d” the way a Southern woman would say it with three whole syllables so there was no question. Dead – no trace of life or breath – something very final, strange, and unsettling.
I forget that death is what Christ overcame for me. I forget what a life lived with the knowledge of His love really means. I forget that He is the very author of my life and allows my heart to keep pumping every day. I forget what the gospel means to people who have never heard it before – what it should mean to me everyday.
It wasn’t even really the idea of being a “missionary” on foreign soil that I was struggling with; it was just the totality of what “living dead” for Christ really meant… here, right now, today. It means that God always matters more to me than I do. And it means that other people always matter to me more than I do. That has very far reaching effects on my life that my flesh would really rather not sign up for… Ultimately, I know that God’s economy is upside down and doesn’t work at all like I think it should. Holding God and others before myself actually does bring life to me. This is where the picture of a kernel of wheat falling to the ground to die before new life can be created gives me a whole new “a-HA” moment.
The basic question is really “Do I love Jesus more than anything?” I desperately want to… which is why my honest gut reaction to questions about living my life for Him really took me by surprise. But my answer made me want to run to Him, instead of away from Him, because I knew how backwards and stupid my answer sounded. It’s only Christ that can really change our hearts.
What is your gut reaction to the idea of living dead? Do you need to hear the gospel again? What can you set aside to fall more in love with Jesus?