A young Christian, whom we will call Bill, was beginning to learn about the work of missions. He was intrigued by the missionaries that visited his church, and it concerned him that many in the world have little or no chance of hearing the Gospel and that most of the preachers were staying in the United States. A missionary on his way to Honduras had shown slides and preached in Bill’s church. As he left that day, Bill said the nice things that people say to missionaries. The missionary replied, “Thank you. Maybe you will come to Honduras and help us.” Not knowing how to respond to this challenge, Bill repeated something he had once heard, “God has not called me to be a missionary.”
The young missionary, wise beyond his years, did not let Bill get away with this glib answer. He opened his Bible to Matthew 9:38 and said, “Read this. This is a command; will you do it?” The verse says that we are to pray for laborers. Bill told the missionary that he would, and he did. Bill has now been a laborer in the harvest for half a century.
Many, like Bill, believe the five-syllable sentence, God has not called me, because they have heard repeatedly that a missionary must receive a special, supernatural call. No one has told them that they can volunteer. If a person has not had an overwhelming emotional experience, he may assume God has not called him. He concludes that he is free to choose his own career, unlike the called one who must do exactly what God has called him to do. Everyone needs to hear Romans 12:1-2 and be reminded that he is to present his body a living sacrifice. Only then will he know God’s perfect will. Why would God show His will to a Christian who is not dedicated to do it? After surrendering, he must seriously ask God what he should do and where he should go. He should consider foreign missions for at least two reasons: First, it is a command to go and preach Christ to every creature. Second, common sense tells us that people with the least opportunity deserve top priority. The Apostle Paul strove to go where Christ had not been named. Oswald J. Smith asked, “Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice until everyone has heard it once?” Christians who say, “Lord, anywhere but the mission field,” are rebels and disqualified from knowing God’s will!
Most would not think or say it, but with so many Christians exempting themselves from missionary service by saying God has not called me, we may be inadvertently accusing the Lord of failing to call enough missionaries. God loves every man and sent His Son to die for all. He commands all men everywhere to repent. God wants no one to go to Hell. He has no alternative plan other than faith in Christ. He has commanded us to go everywhere telling the Good News. Has He not called enough people to do it? God wants churches established at home and abroad, but thousands of places have none. He wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. He wants no one ignorant of His Word, yet more than half of the seven thousand one hundred languages in our world still have not one verse of Scripture. Jesus has commanded us to evangelize all people groups; there are over sixteen thousand! And we have done little or nothing in half of them. Is it possible that our all-powerful, all-wise God would do all this for man’s salvation but not call enough men to proclaim it? Someone is at fault, but it is not God!
There’s another group that claims God has not called me. It is their pretext and shield to deflect any challenge or question that might get near them. These words protect them from becoming a pastor, a youth director, an itinerant evangelist, and especially from the dreadful fate of a missionary. The one who has declared himself uncalled can go abroad if he wants to—if the job pays well—or he can stay home. He can work in the oil fields of Saudi Arabia or in an auto plant in Detroit, it is his call (pun intended). But he is not required to preach the Gospel in these places because, after all, he is not called. He can learn a few foreign phrases as a tourist but needs not labor eight hours a day learning a language. He can visit any place in the world, but he is not required to live anywhere he deems dirty or unpleasant. He can spend his entire life with his people and never experience the discomfort of living with those of a different culture. God has not called me guarantees him comfort socially, economically, and physically. He can make it sound so convincing that others believe he has struggled with the issue of fulltime service and concluded that it is not God’s will for him. The truth is that he has not given it a minute’s consideration. Also, the unspoken implication is: Drop it! Leave me alone. The matter is settled. I have no further word.
Saying these five magic words may free a man, at least in his own mind, from any obligation to be a spectacle in the world, to go where he might feel uncomfortable, or to do anything that he does not want to do. He may use these words to opt out of any full-time service for God. Oh, he can mow the church yard or pass out a gospel tract, but he is free from speaking from a pulpit and running the risk of embarrassment. He believes God has not called me automatically exempts him from any personal involvement in the Great Commission of Christ other than dropping a dollar in the offering plate or praying, “God bless our missionaries around the world. Amen.” He can ignore the command of God to give the Good News to the heathen; that only applies to the called. This rebellious brother needs to be reminded of a few biblical truths: First, “Ye are not your own; … ye are bought with a price.” Second, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” Or as someone put it, “Losers finders, keepers weepers.” And finally, his empty words, God has not called me, are not going to help him when he looks at the nailed-pierced hands of His Saviour. He may be in the majority now claiming this, but at the Judgment Seat of Christ, he will appear alone and speechless.