by Michael Oh
Tell the students to give up their small ambitions and come eastward to preach the gospel of Christ. — Francis Xavier
Many people leave college with the goal to “be somebody.” And this usually means getting a good job, making good money, buying a nice house, driving a nice car, attaining some important position, and helping your kids to do the same.
For the Christian, “being somebody” usually means all of that and faithfully going to church on Sundays and Bible study during the week.
But I believe that Jesus is calling for people to be a nobody for him — people who would forsake the “American dream” to be a part of bringing gospel hope to the nations. People who don’t mind if they are not recognized, respected, praised, or promoted — as long as the name of Jesus is cherished, exalted, and adored. People who understand that Jesus didn’t come to this world and die on a cross so that we could have a comfortable suburban life and enjoy going to our local church’s corporate gathering on Sundays.
Jesus Is Calling Gifted Nobodies
Jesus is calling people who could compete in the corporate rat race (and win) — but either choose not to so that they can share the gospel with the neediest in Thailand or choose yes so that by excelling in their profession they can give gobs of money away for God’s global cause (something their co-workers wouldn’t understand). I believe that Jesus Christ is calling for well-trained, well-educated, godly, capable, wise, talented nobodies.
John Piper reminds us that we have three choices – go, send, or disobey. And it’s my hope and prayer that the very best of this generation will go — young people who could be somebody in this world choosing to be nobodies for Jesus.
And that doesn’t mean that you have to be a preacher. There’s hardly a job or profession that you can have in America that you can’t do in the mission field.
You can be a musician, a physician, a professor, a dog catcher, a secretary, an actuary, a bartender, a mixed martial arts fighter (it doesn’t matter). My point is that missions is simply doing what the Lord has gifted and called you to do — where there are few or no Christians — so that those who cannot be saved without believing in the gospel would hear the life-giving good news of Jesus through you.
It’s choosing to forsake the comforts and glory of the American dream to live in an African jungle, or any foreign land, and speaking in a foreign tongue, choosing to be slightly uncomfortable and really need God so that he might have have the glory he is worthy to receive.
But Why Make This Choice?
Why choose to be a nobody when you could be a somebody? Because life is not about us. It’s not about how much money you can make; it’s not about how secure and comfortable you can be; it’s not even about living a quiet life and being a consistent church attender. And not only is it not about us, it’s also not even about the nations that are lost without the gospel. Ultimately it really is about God. God is worthy to hear from each of his servants for whom he died – “Lord I would go anywhere for you. Lord, I would do anything for you.”
We must realize that we have absolutely no right to tell God, “I’ll do this for you, but not that.” We must understand how globally worthy he is to be loved and adored, how incredibly hard the task of making him known is, and how great are the sacrifices needed to see that happen. This is how much we want to see Jesus worshiped by every tribe, language, people, and nation — we are willing to be nobodies to see it happen.
He must become greater; I must become less (John 3:30).