I have been restless in my spirit because of a nagging question that continues to haunt my heart. It is the same question that haunted the mind and heart of Adoniram Judson, the first American missionary to the foreign mission field. The only difference is that this question did not hit him until he had been in Burma for over a decade- the question has hit me before I have even boarded the plane to head to Cambodia.
Here is the question: "What is the motivation behind my desire to be successful?" Or, more precisely for me, and possibly for other missionaries on the deputation trail, "What is the motivation behind my desire to have a successful deputation?" Sadly, as I take an objective look at my own heart, I must say that my motives are not always pure. There are days when I am driven by the thought of my own personal success. "I have scheduled three meetings today- now I can rest well tonight because I have succeeded."
"Another church took us on for support- man, I am really getting the job done!"
Now, we missionaries would all like to think that we are always motivated by the fact that the people to whom God has called us are waiting on us, and we must hasten to get to our respective fields; and that is good. I still don't know if that is the best motivation either.
I believe the motivation that we should all pray to have as we endeavor to finish our deputation and get to the people to whom God has called us is a heart that is earnestly seeking God's approval, and a heart that is consumed with being yielded to Him.
Here is a tough question. If I schedule ten meetings in one day, but I was so busy doing so that I did not obey the voice of the Holy Spirit when He was clearly leading me to stop and pray for a specific person, was I really a true success that day? Or, if my motivation in scheduling the meetings was to satisfy some egotistical hunger for personal success, was I really a true success?
I like what Paul Chappell wrote in his book, The Spiritual Leader: "Spiritual leaders (missionaries) practice the moment-by-moment presence of God and live constantly with a sense that every moment belongs to God. As God's ambassador, I am on His mission in even the smallest of details and circumstances, and I must listen to His guidance and obey His direction in the minutia of life as well as the big picture."
Here it is in a nutshell. Getting to the mission field is the big picture. Obviously, we would say that God is the One Who motivated us to go to our respective fields. But here is the kicker. Scheduling meetings, going to meetings, mailing out packets, teaching Sunday school classes, staying with church families- all the details of deputation- are the "minutia of life." Can we truly say with a pure heart that we are doing all of this for His ultimate glory? Or are we driven by our lust for success. You know, that little voice in the back of your mind that says, "Wow, they are going to be impressed! You finished up deputation in record time!" May we stay close to the Lord, and earnestly live every day with the thought that we are only successful when we are right in our hearts with the Lord; and pride will not allow that to take place.