The AMI QT Devotionals for August 24-25 are written by Jonathan Moon, who serves as a staff at Radiance Christian Church (S.F). Jonathan is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is married to Stephanie and they have a toddler named Elijah.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
A Portrait of Dedicated Missionaries
1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 1:29
Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God; for this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
As my wife and I pray about going to the mission field, we’re trying to figure out what it means to be a missionary and what missionary work looks like. Being in Cuba and staying in Pastor Gustavo and Angela’s home (with their two young daughters) gave me a glimpse of what that looks like.
First, what stands out about them is their love for God and the Cubans. This was readily visible in the way they talked about their ministry and how they desire to glorify God in all things with thankfulness; as they shared, they constantly had smiles on their faces, even though life in Cuba isn’t easy for foreigners. To give you an idea, these are a few examples: they were using a dial-up connection since Wi-Fi is not allowed inside; supply of certain foods is inconsistent (milk, for instance, may not be available for months); then there is a constant security concern due to government monitoring.
But none of this seems to affect this missionary couple who is obviously overworked: Gustavo, who heads the seminary, oversees all the operations, including leading worship and prayer meetings, and disciples and cares for 71 seminary students. Angela wakes up early to prepare breakfast and lunch, takes care of the girls, and she is constantly translating materials from Korean to Spanish for the next teacher who will come the following week, as well as interpret for the current teacher!
So often, we grumble when we have to serve the church. We feel that after having served once or twice a week, we have done our “duty” and no one should dare to ask us to do more. We have a hard time letting go of our free time or saying no to fun events in order to serve the church or attend a church event. But what if we realize that NONE of that is more important than God? What if we realize that our friends can wait, our free time is not that precious, work is work, and God will take care of us? What if we live our lives wholly and completely devoted to Him, where we give Him everything and not just the small moments that we spare for Him? What impact would that make? What would we be able to do for the Kingdom? I guess we won’t know it until we actually dare to live it.
Prayer: Father, I thank You for Your Son Jesus Christ who left the glory of heaven to dwell among men to save them. I also thank You for people like Pastor Gustavo and Angela for their dedication, sacrifice, passion, and obedience to God. Help me to let go of my sense of entitlement to live more fully for You.
Bible Reading for Isaiah 13
Lunch Break Study
Read Philippians 3:4-11: If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Questions to Consider
- Would you say that the apostle Paul had a lot to give up in order to “take up his cross and follow” Christ (Lk. 9:23)? What were some of his credentials (cf. Gal. 1:13-14)?
- In what sense does Gustavo and Angela capture Philippians 3:8 in which Paul talks about counting everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus?
- What is the ultimate goal of giving up that which was beneficial to me before: to produce more fruits for Christ or to know Him better.
- Paul had many things going for him: he was a leading Pharisee, an immaculate keeper of the law, And a true Jew who was also very well-educated (Acts 22:3).
- There is something to be said about Pastor Gustavo and Angela’s dedication, sacrifice, passion, and obedience to God. They have embodied Philippians 3:8 and have counted all as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus, for whose sake they have lost all things.
- The ultimate goal is to know Christ better by a way of identifying with His great suffering through our small suffering for His sake.
Though we are not all called to be missionaries overseas, we are all called to be missionaries where we are. Before we go to bed tonight, let’s ask ourselves these questions: What am I doing to expand God’s Kingdom where I am? Am I serving as little as I can or want, or is God’s work my main priority? Am I ready to count it all as loss for Christ? Spend some time in a reflective prayer.