It’s starting to set in. In less than three weeks, I’ll be on a plane headed to Africa. I feel so overwhelmed and, to be honest, a bit fearful. I’m not sure why I’m afraid, because I love traveling and I’ve been all over the world and haven’t had problems yet. I think my fear is probably more coming from an honest reflection of myself. For some reason, God is opening doors for me to preach and teach, yet I feel entirely unable to do so. I will have approximately seventeen days to preach the gospel continually, help train pastors, make disciples, encourage orphanage workers, feed the poor, and give away every dollar that I have. The seventeen days doesn’t seem long enough. It seems impossible.
Furthermore, I still have around $1,500 to raise. Yet, I have less than three weeks. That seems like a fortune. I’m a bit worried because the tickets are paid for and I have five people that depend on me to provide for them while I’m gone. The finances seem impossible.
Oh, and not to mention the fact that people by their very nature are enslaved to sin and do not choose to follow God on their own, no matter how awesome of a preacher one is. So imagine the preaching of a poor preacher and you can imagine my concern. What can I say or do that will cause African people to repent of their sin and turn to Christ? There’s absolutely nothing I can do. Preaching is foolish. The message of the cross is foolishness and offensive. The missionary mandate seems impossible.
A man once was told that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. This shocked that guy so much so, that he asked, “Then who can be saved?” My feelings are very similar. I would just add, “Then how can I pay for this trip, and how can I do what you want me to do, and how can the people that I’m serving actually come to know Jesus? It’s impossible!”
Have you ever felt the same way? Have you ever felt so overwhelmed and discouraged and worried and fearful because you realize how impossible the task of life can be, especially for people who are concerned with pleasing the all-creating God of the universe? Maybe it’s just me.
But Jesus, referring to the seemingly overwhelming call of missions, said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27). Yeah, if we are relying on people, it’s impossible. The task is impossible. The finances are impossible. The preaching is impossible. The message is impossible. Everything is impossible.
But not with God. With God, all things are possible. The task is possible. The finances are possible. The preaching is possible. The message is possible. The overwhelming call of missions… is possible.
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.