Guest post by Kelly Kohr, small groups and weekend administrator at 217church
The other week, as I was finishing some planning for 217church’s fast approaching trip to the Dominican Republic, Josh asked me if I’d be interested in writing a guest blog for him. I hesitated until he said the topic of having a heart for the world. Oh! Well of course! That’ll actually be fun!
In my short 22 years of life, I’ve gone on what I would consider to be a good handful of mission trips. It was on one of the first trips, when I was only 15, God broke my heart for people around the world and He showed me the desperate need for Jesus that remains the same no matter what continent or country you may be in. I can still remember sitting in a dark, one bedroom apartment in hot and humid Mexico, hearing a mother cry as she prayed to Jesus for the healing of her son, who sat wheelchair bound next to her. She was desperate for a change and for hope. Before we left her that day, she found peace in a God who loves her and she found a hope for eternity, not just the days and circumstances immediately before her. This is why we should have a heart for the world.
The woman whose life was changed, changed mine as well. Through a prayer walk with no expectations, God showed up. It was through that encounter and an incredible number of other experiences through the week that God showed me the vast passion he has for the world. He took me out of my comfort zone and empowered me through it all. God’s heart is that all would come to know him, and one day, every knee will bow before him (Phil. 2:10). And it is our calling to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, telling people of the Father as we go and “make disciples of every nation” (Mt 28:19).
3 Reasons we should have a heart for the world:
It’s not all about you – We are culturally bombarded with the ideas that it’s our comfort, our desires and our choices that matter the most. Jesus has called us to go against the grain of culture and lay ourselves aside for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of others. “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor. 5:14-15). If Jesus gave his life, his breathe, his future for the sake of others, shouldn’t we at least lay aside our comforts and plans? Let Christ’s love compel you.
You’ve been blessed – Whether you are considered “rich” or not, you are undeniably blessed. But, this isn’t about money. I’ve met homeless men in Malaysia who have a joy that puts me to shame because of the hope they’ve found in Jesus Christ. If we follow and believe in the God of the Bible, a Holy King who gave his son to die in our place, the Creator of the universe who has made a future for us beyond this life, we have been blessed. And we have something to share. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (2 Cor. 1:3-4). No matter what we’ve been through or are going through, God has given us a choice to take the blessings he’s given us and bless others with that. Be a witness of what Jesus has done. “…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
We are one family – Just as Jesus has called us all to share the blessings of our lives across the street and around the world, we are a part of a family of believers who are here to encourage and build each other up as we do so. Paul is one of the most famous missionaries, traveling from church to church, imparting the wisdom and gospel of Christ. As he went, his heart was to edify and build up his brothers in Christ. Even in his letters, Paul shared of his hope for time spent with the local churches, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Rom. 1:11-12). As 217church begins a new partnership with the local churches in the Dominican Republic, it is my prayer that we can encourage one another, building our faith in the One who is worth it all.
Do you have a heart for the world? Let God show you His heart for the world and the ways He is calling you to share the blessings and gifts He’s given you.
Photo courtesy of dillonwithwife.blogspot.com