Just because I want to do it, doesn’t mean I’m not afraid.
As a child, I remember getting brave when trying a new roller coaster. I wanted to do it, but I’d be scared to death. My dad would often give me an out by reminding me I really didn’t have to ride it. Nevertheless, I wanted to ride it. But it certainly didn’t come without a level of fear.
Roller coasters, however, are safe. What gives us a thrill is perceived danger. It’s carefully crafted to make us afraid while the ride is completely under control.
Life, however, doesn’t promise this. The danger isn’t always merely perceived; it’s real. As Christians, we’re no less afraid (right or wrong), but we have a higher motivation than the thrill of a ride. Lives—eternal lives—are on the line.
We conclude a nine-week journey through Acts 1:6-8. I think this with every blog, sermon, lesson, or email: I hope this helps.
As we focus on the final phrase of this passage, let’s read Acts 1:6-8 one last time:
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Jesus finished his assignment to the Apostles (and us) by telling them they would be His witnesses “to the ends of the earth”. Even a simple reading of this tells us exactly what Jesus means and there is no fudging it: we are to take the Gospel to other nations and other cultures.
This means crossing a lot of barriers. It seems impossible, but the mission is possible because the Gospel is life to those who are dying. Also, it is not in our power we go but it’s HIS. It is HIS church HE is building. We are merely serving Him for His goals and purposes.
Yet, we are afraid of what this means. Leave comfort? Take a mission trip? Give to missions? Support a missionary? Write emails and letters to those who are going? It’s a little scary to get that involved. It’s a lot easier to send others and not worry about it. But Jesus is looking at you and me and is saying, “YOU ARE THE ONES WHO WILL ATTEST TO ME TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH”.
Here’s a (potentially) mind-blowing, paradigm shift: it’s not just about “me”, but “us”. An individual can’t take the message to the ends of the earth. Jesus, however, has put the church all across the globe. We are everywhere, but too often we’re under such deep cover you’d not know.
Where are you afraid to go? Following Jesus involves giving Him our fear and trusting Him to fulfill the mission He has called us to.
The Lord tells us in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Our surrender to Jesus leaves us no other option than serving Him as a witness to where we don’t want to go, as a witness to where we go, as a witness to where we live, and as a witness to where I am afraid to go (to the ends of the earth).
We are truly in this together, but it’s not about us. It’s about “them”. It’s about those who are unredeemed. It’s about those Jesus came to save. It’s not about what we lose but what they gain. Is that enough to cause fear? You bet your sweet latte it does! But we’re not called to receive, dear Christian, we’re called to give.
Give yourself away so He can use you. Run to the conflict. Be the solution. Go where you’re afraid to go. Watch Jesus show up and show out.
The places we’ll go will be far beyond our imagination, but while we’re there, let’s be bold in declaring the Good News of Jesus.