What have you attempted for God recently, and what have you expected from him?
I was recently reminded of William Carey's quote "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God", and asked myself just that question. The honest answer is probably the same for most of us. We've probably only attempted what we can safely accomplish, and we've expected little. Too busy and too tired, we don't push our faith to it's limits.
Years ago I was in a small Bible study group, not long after I became a follower of Jesus. In one of our studies we had an illustration of two people. One was standing on a frozen lake holding a large book with the word "faith" on the cover. It was meant to represent the amount of faith this character had. The sign by the lake read "thin ice". The other picture was someone with a small amount of faith standing beside another frozen lake with a sign that read "thick ice".
We spent a lot of time talking about the implications of these two pictures. Who was the person with faith? Was the man on the thin ice our model because he took the bigger risk, or was the man who applied his small amount of faith to thick ice more reasonable. I don't remember us coming to any absolute conclusions.
In the end I'm not too sure that faith is the determining factor when it comes to taking risks, to attempting something great for the kingdom of God. I think fear has a lot to do with it. Security is also a factor. Most of all perhaps we just don't spend enough time allowing the Spirit of God to inspire us to adventure. Perhaps we are too busy taking care of business, getting through the day, that we just don't have the time to become a pioneer for the kingdom.
William Carey was ignored, chastised and rejected for his radical assertion that lost people in other cultures actually mattered to God and ought to matter to the church. He was told in no uncertain terms that if God wanted to convert the heathen, he would do so in his time and without Carey's interference. But Carey persisted in dreaming a big dream. He persisted in preaching a missionary message about a missionary God and he offered himself for the task.
Eventually his persistence and commitment saw the birth of a missionary movement and he became its first missionary. He attempted something great for God and God did something extraordinary through him.
So where does that leave us, where does it leave me? Perhaps we need to remember our dreams, to revisit our passions, to seek first God's kingdom, to get on our knees and ask God to inspire a fresh wave of radical discipleship that will settle for nothing less than a big vision of God accompanied by a willingness to risk everything for the sake of the kingdom.
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