6:02 AM Off to “regions beyond” (2 Cor. 10:16). Why? I’ve discovered that upward mobility is a downer. I’m haunted by the idea that God can take average everyday people like me and use them for His purposes. There was nothing special about the 70 whom Jesus sent out two by two. And I imagine they were scared to death to be sent too. But they did what they were told to do, because Jesus was their Boss. So they girded up their loins, tightened up their sandals, took a deep breath, and away they went, elbows swinging with every step, preaching, teaching, healing. And it worked! Miracles happened because He was with them.

Serving Jesus is like making a 60-yard touchdown run. (Yes, God plays football.) And the ball’s in our hands. Let’s get out of our holy huddles (especially those of you who have the “perfect” church) and run a play or two for Jesus. Yes, you will get scraped up (or beat up — ask Paul!) along the way. But it’s pretty hard to deny the need that is out there.

By the way, there’s no sense in playing unless you expect results. Don’t limit your playing field to the stained glass aquarium (or to your living room). Jesus is building His church worldwide, and He wants to use you. That’s why you’re here in the first place. Serve Jesus and there will be pain. Live for yourself and there will be pain. There will be pain either way. So why not get your pain working for you rather than against you? Let’s unleash foot soldiers for Jesus. Don’t need to go across the world to do this either. Know how to bake a pie and take it to a neighbor? Welcome to the mission field!

We’ll, enough preaching for one day. (I have a feeling you’re a member of “the choir” anyway.) As I leave for the airport I feel very much alive. The birds are singing, and the donkeys have started munching the grass (donkeys don’t “graze”; they “munch”). God has provided all of this and a good deal more — the stars, the sun, the breeze, wives and husbands and sons and daughters and “infants to sweeten the world” (to use a phrase from an ancient prayer). I am but a tiny speck in the universe, a ripple on the ocean of life, yet God does not overlook me, cannot in fact, because He created me, redeemed me, even promised He would never leave me nor forsake me, taught me to trust Him when I was only 8 years old, a mere child but old enough to realize that we are not doomed to meaninglessness, even in the wilderness of loneliness, even when “God’s megaphone” (C. S. Lewis) of pain shouts to us, despite my keen sense of past failures, my blindness, my selfish isolation. It is heartening to think that even when the work seems so daunting, even when I feel so inadequate, I can still be a vessel bearing the life of Jesus — the way that James Fraser gave himself to the people of China many years ago because God had called him to forsake selfishness and to cease to live for himself, or the way Jim Elliott taught the Aucas what God’s love looks like by dying for them. I have been given a small assignment, but no assignment is small when God assigns it, when it helps to complete the quota of Christ’s sufferings, when we say YES to what He requires of our journey with Him simply because it’s the journey He wants to share with us. And so —

“We follow, now we follow — Yonder, yes yonder, yonder. Yonder.”

— Gerard Manly Hopkins, The Golden Echo.

(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission. David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm, Christian Archy, and Why Four Gospels?.)