By Gary Jennings (Lead Pastor)
RAP – It’s simple to do. Read a passage; Apply the passage, and Pray the passage. Everyone can rap.
It was just a typical Sunday morning in my world. I have a regimented routine on Sunday mornings as I work my way forward to our first service of two for the morning. After I finished the final study and preparation of my sermon, I gazed at my bulletin board in my office to see what the planned daily reading passage was for our church family. The passage was Isaiah 6:1-13. Awe yes, I said to myself, a familiar passage indeed; and one I love. I read the first 8 verses, then stopped and reflected. Now, sometimes I will read the passage for that Sunday in our services. This was missions Sunday and I was feeling that it would be a good passage to read to our church family.
So, this is exactly what I did. As I publicly read I felt greatly impacted by the words, Who will go for us, then Isaiah’s quick response, Here am I. send me. These words are loaded with power and commitment. I had no idea what God was doing in the pews before me, but I did know he was doing something. Many of us were being affected in a fresh way. After the services I saw people lingering behind in the pews in quiet meditation. It was after the services that heard from three people who told me specifically where God was sending them to. I marveled at the workings of God. They will be sharing a testimony this Sunday in church. God is sending them because they said, here I am.
For me personally, my fresh surrender to be sent led me from the walls of our church to a house number in our city. It was there that I felt the gentle nudge of God to share. As I did a connection was made with someone who has a need. Who knows what will come out of this in the days ahead.
I heard someone say one time that the reality today is that some have changed the wording of Isaiah 6:8 from Here am I. Send me, to Here am I. Send somebody else. Why do people say that today? Is it because sometimes ministry is messy and inconvenient? Is it because sometimes ministry takes us out of our comfort zones? Is it because sometimes ministry has a price tag attached to it? Yes, yes, yes, all of the above and much more certainly apply to ministry and being sent. Here’s what I know: ministry is seldom clean, tidy, neat, and cheap. There is always a cost.
Here’s what else I know: Oh, how much we miss when God has to pass over us in search of a willing person. Years ago we used to call a willing person, a willing vessel. A vessel is a container which is made to be filled and used. When we refuse to be used, ministry to people in need still happens, but through someone else. And then, someone else gets the blessing that God designated to us.
Jesus went looking for disciples and followers as he walked this earth. When He found them, he sent them out to do needed ministry among people.
God is still looking for people who will say, Here I am. Send me. Amen!