I distinctly remember the moment — sitting in the forward cabin on a ferry boat in the middle of the Bosporus on my way back from the European side of Istanbul. I remember being all alone in the cabin. In the midst of a city of over 15 million it seems extremely unlikely, but that’s how I remember it. Sitting there thinking about our ministry, the overwhelming need in that country, and how much was left to be done I remember being visited by this thought: “My highest calling is to be His.” It was simple but profound; it was known but obviously not understood.
In the midst of 15 million people where less than 0.5% of the population would be considered followers of Jesus, I heard the Lord remind me that being comes before doing. As a task-oriented person from a task-oriented culture, I find it much “easier” to do Gospel-oriented things than it is to be still and relate to and worship the Father. I would never have said, or would say now, that I don’t want to spend time with God, but I’m so easily distracted by all that needs to be done.
As Sara and I are here in Quebec now in round two of our journey in cross-cultural ministry, I’m finding I need to hear this word from the Lord again – be mine first. I believe that the heart of the Gospel is reconciliation of a relationship with our Creator; going from orphan to adopted child. Here in Quebec we want to share that incredible, life-changing news with many. We are longing for opportunities to walk with people through the Scriptures towards Christ and on to be his disciples on mission with Him. I have needed to be reminded though that the place I need to start and continue each day is at His feet. It isn’t just about morning devotions or quiet time (not that those aren’t important), but is in change of attitude and goals. Going out and engaging in the work of the harvest is imperative. At the same time, if we are able to truly grasp whose we are, and how that defines who we are, then the activity that flows from that will be so much more consistent with who God is and how He is working.
As we consider the immense task of catalyzing disciple-making movements amongst Francophone Quebecers where less than 1% would consider themselves followers of Jesus, we’re reminded that disciple-makers must be disciples first. Obedience is central to the life of a disciple, but obedience isn’t code for going out and doing many good and God-honouring things. The heart of obedience is to place God first in your life. To love Him with all of your being. Not a task we complete in this life, but a priority that should come before accomplishing great things for God.