The White Envelope

Sometimes, we’re confronted with a commandment we just don’t know how to obey. That happened to me one quiet Sunday morning. I had woken up hours earlier than needed, and my heart was tightened with conviction. Finally, I had found a church home and was learning more about the Bible. I wanted to act on my faith, rather than just studying it. One of Christ’s commandments had me stumped, though.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” Matthew 28:18-20.

I knew Jesus didn’t mean the Great Commission as an offhanded comment. It was a vital assignment, a call to obedience that should shake our spirit from the roots. The salvation of every precious human being should be viewed as an urgent priority.

Yet becoming a full-time missionary didn’t seem to fit. Here in Virginia, I have a husband, parents, a house and a mortgage. I knew nothing about missionary organizations. Part me felt as though some nations and peoples were impossible to reach, so what was the point?

Confused, I prayed for God to show me a way to obey. Just four hours later, His answer came in a white envelope.

After worship and Sunday School ended, church members were stacking the chairs in our rented sanctuary. One of the women handed me an envelope with my name written on the outside. Inside was an invitation to meet with a missionary couple, Tez and Christine Brooks, for a dessert party that following Friday. The invitation said they serve with Jesus Film Project, a part of Cru.

Friday couldn’t come soon enough. The invitation said that Jesus Flim Project translates a film version of the gospel in more than a thousand languages, breaking down cultural barriers. I probably read every page of the organization’s website over the next few days.

When the gathering came that Friday, enthusiasm continued to spring up within me as these missionaries gave a presentation. I knew that I could help make new evangelistic films possible by covering this couple in prayer. They even pointed me to my first international mission trip to reach Muslims at European ports. God’s answer wasn’t a dead-end, it led to many other paths for me to go on mission locally and abroad.

The Bible tells us that we should draw near to God when a commandment seems too hard, or when we’re tempted to sin. Though sometimes I forget, I now know the best approach is to ask the Good Shepherd for guidance. As I studied the Bible more, I realized the author of Hebrews urged us to do just that:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need,” Hebrews 4:15-16.

God doesn’t just set the rules, He gives us the answers in His Word. He allows life to be an open-book test. When we’re stuck, He’s an understanding teacher, willing to walk us through anything.

Are you struggling with any of the Bible’s commandments? Jesus has been in your shoes, so don’t be afraid to draw near. Ask and wait for His reply.

Open Book Test - James 1:5

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