Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sacrifice and Ability

There are two statements I hear frequently when we are on home assignment. They are said sincerely and at first I found them flattering. But the more I think about them, the more I realize that they are not completely true.

The first is, "You have really sacrificed a lot to be a missionary in Niger." Well, maybe I've sacrificed a chance to have some of the nicer things in life, to own a home, to not have to pack up and move every four years, to spend more time with my family. But look at what I've gained: world travel, interaction with people from other cultures, a safe environment in which to raise my kids, freedom from materialism, and a simpler lifestyle just to name a few. Most of all, God has called me, and doing what he wants is not a sacrifice, it's a privilege. David Livingstone summed it up so well when he said,
"Forbid that we should ever consider the holding of a commission from the King of kings as a sacrifice, so long as other men esteem the service of an earthly government as an honour. I am a missionary, heart and soul. God himself had an only Son and he was a missionary and a physician. A poor, poor imitation I am, or wish to be, but in this service I hope to live. In it I wish to die. I still prefer poverty and missions service to riches and ease. This is my choice."

If it would be considered a priviliege to be an aide for, an advisor to, or an ambassador for George W. Bush or Queen Elizabeth or President Tanja of Niger, think of what a greater privilege it is to be a representative for the King of kings! Sacrifice? I think not! Privilege? Yes!

The other statement I hear often is, "It's good thing God called you to be a missionary to Niger, because I could never do that. I'd never survive." Well, there have been days I thought I'd never survive. And I've thought the same of other mission fields. When my friend in Almaty writes about the cold, I think, "Better her than me!" But the fact is, when God calls you some place, He gives you what you need to do it. I'm not some special person with an amazing gift called The Ability to Survive in Niger. If He calls, He equips.

One of Casting Crowns songs is my favorite and it sums it up so well. It's called In Me.
If you asked me to leap out of my boat on the crashing waves
And if you asked me to go preach to a lost world of Jesus saves
I'll go but I cannot go alone cause I know I'm nothing on my own
But the power of Christ in me makes me strong
Makes me strong

Cause when I'm weak He makes me strong
When I'm blind He shines His light on me
Cause I'll never get by livin on my own abilities
How refreshing to know you don't need me,
How amazing to find that you want me,
So I'll stand on your truth and I'll fight with your strength
Till you bring the victory by the power of Christ in me.

If you asked me to run carry your life to the fallen land
If you asked me to fight deliver your people from Satan's hand
I'll go but I cannot go alone cause I know I'm nothing on my own
But the power of Christ in me makes me strong
Makes me strong

Cause when I'm weak You make me strong
When I'm blind You shine Your light on me
Cause I'll never get by livin on my own abilities
How refreshing to know you don't need me,
How amazing to find that you want me,
So I'll stand on your truth and I'll fight with your strength
Till you bring the victory by the power of Christ in me.

To reach out with your hands to the world through your eyes
To love with the love of the Savior
To feel with your heart
And to think with your mind
I'll give my last breath for your glory

Cause when I'm weak You make me strong
When I'm blind You shine Your light on me
Cause I'll never get by livin on my own abilities
How refreshing to know you don't need me,How amazing to find that you want me,So I'll stand on your truth and I'll fight with your strengthTill you bring the victory by the power of Christ in me.

How amazing to find that He wants me! If He wants me, He strengthens me! Believe me, I'm nothing amazing, I've done nothing amazing! I'm just being obedient and being strengthened by the King of kings!!!

8 comments:

Carol Wilson said...

Beautiful song and beautiful blog. It's so refreshing to see someone who focuses on the privilege rather than on the sacrifice.
Carol

Dusty Penguin said...

That was so beautifully said. I'm going to miss your regular posts. It will be hard to wait once a month to read your blogs!

Georgene said...

I'm really enjoying your blog. I had hoped to write and ask you a few questions about missionary life but I couldn't find your email. Would you mind emailing me? akeeperathome@aol.com

journeyer said...

Nancy,
thanks so much for these encouraging and refreshing words. I always appreciate the honesty that comes through your blog. You are an awesome woman of faith! We are praying for you as you finish your final days in the States.

Palmer said...

Great points. I try to be careful about how I think and talk about those who serve on the mission field, with the Zoolkowskis being a prime example. I see all they are sacrificing materially but I also suspect that they wouldn't find any other activity as fulfilling as what they are doing in Niger. I think it's great that God called the best of the best, and they answered His call.

Carol Wilson said...

I'm back again, hoping for an update on your prayer requests before you fly out. Did the van sell? And is any rain falling in Tera? (Or the rest of Niger, for that matter?)

We pray for you daily.

Love,
Carol

Jane Stutzman said...

I've just caught up on your recent blogs; figured you would be so busy packing you wouldn't be writing. The pictures of sailing are great...what a treat you got to go, relax and leave the chaos behind. We have prayed for rain for Niger....has it come yet? We pray for you as Thursday comes and you return "home." I've heard a couple missionaries recently say
that after the second furlough the USA is no longer home...do you agree? Blessings! My thoughts and prayers are with you as you return
to Tera.

Heather Lee said...

Hi! I just recently found your blog through Jeff Beam's blog. My husband Maurice and I have been praying for you and your family for many years. We would have loved to have been able to meet you when you were in our area. However, for now, we are content to pray for you all and we will look forward to your once a month post and your prayer updates. Praying for Daniel and Suzanne too!!