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God's Story

Posted by Sarah Bourns , 01 July 2012 · 1800 views

As a sender of college short-term teams (and a mobilizer for long-term workers!), I hear a wide variety of motivations for going "On Mission."
  • It’s a cool cross-cultural experience
  • You can take cute pictures of kids, eat weird foods, have crazy stories to tell
  • You can work really really hard and feel really good
  • You will bond with your team and gain an awesome new group of friends
  • You’ll be able to love and serve the people of Chicago, or China, or…
  • You’ll grow in incredible ways and have your heart changed forever
Those are all true and, for the most part, good motivations, but I’ve come to realize, none of those are the best or the REAL reason that we do missions.
Because it’s not actually about us at all. And it’s not even really about the other people we go to serve.
It’s all about God.

If we lived hundreds of years ago, we would wake up in the morning and see that the sun rises in the east, then at noon it’s straight up in the sky, then it sets in the west at night. And it would be easy to assume without modern technology that the sun revolves around the earth. But, of course, today we know that the earth revolves around the sun.

It’s really easy, especially in this age of consumerism and commercialism, to subconsciously assume that everything basically revolves around us. We think we’re the main character in the story of our life.
But, like the sun, we revolve around God, not the other way around. We are all in GOD’S Story… He doesn’t happen to be in our story.
Really, every person who has ever lived has all been part of GOD’S STORY… whether they knew it or not.
And who, of course, is the main character in God’s Story? GOD. It’s all about GOD.

I certainly don’t watch the movie Toy Story because I’m excited to see the Slinky deliver his 2 lines… No, the story isn’t about him. And I don’t love the novel Pride and Prejudice because of the “amazing character development” of the maid in Mr. Darcy’s house. The story is not about her.
In the same way, we are all just a small part of an epic story that really has very little to do with us.

It began in eternity past and goes on into eternity future, and the story is all about... GOD.
Graciously, God has invited us to play a little part, but it’s a small speaking role in the grand scheme of things. And really, we can only find purpose for our tiny lives as we figure out how we play into His bigger story.

If His epic saga had a title, perhaps it could be: THE STORY OF HIS GLORY: How God receives all the glory, honor and worship He deserves from every tongue, tribe, and nation.

The story began in eternity past with the first four words of the Bible in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, GOD...”
He was not created, there is no one above Him, there’s no one for Him to report to or worship.
Then He created people in His own image so that He could reveal His glory to us, and then we could reflect His glory back to Him. NOT because He’s egocentric, but because He knows that what is best for us is to worship Him and join His Story.
We instead chose to glorify ourselves, and sin entered the world. The Enemy comes on the scene, but the Author keeps writing. He knows where He’s headed, and it’s to redeem people from their sin and set them apart for Himself, so that we can live our lives to bring Him the glory He deserves for all of eternity.
At the climax of the story when Jesus hung on the cross, it appeared that God’s great plot got terribly messed up, because when does the Hero die?
But when Jesus rose from the grave, He proved once again that God is worthy of all glory and honor and praise from all peoples, tribes, and tongues.

And if God wants and deserves worship from every corner of the earth, the question then is, will He ultimately get it?
Well, He is the One writing the Story, and He has given us a glimpse at the last page.

In Revelation 5:9 we read, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
And again in Revelation 7:9, “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.”

So, we know how the story ends (or begins)!
God gets what He is after, what He wants and deserves,… people representing every remote tribe and foreign tongue and unreached people group to worship Him alone.
We know that the Hero wins, we don’t have to wonder. God will be GLORIFED by all nations!
He gets the most glory when He is being worshipped in every distinct language and unique culture He created.

To review:
We know the beginning of God’s Story—He created us for HIS Glory
The turning point of God’s Story—he redeemed us through Christ… For HIS Glory
And the end of God’s Story—He will one day receive worship from all corners of the earth... FOR. HIS. GLORY.

Today in this epic saga we are somewhere between the Cross and the Throne, which means that this is the time God is actively WORKING to redeem people from every language, tribe and nation.
And THAT’S where WE finally come in! :)

HOW does God redeem people from the ends of the earth for His glory??
Us! Our little lives. God has invited us to join Him as He writes the conclusion of His Story—how He reaches every nation.
Since we know that He alone is worthy, and we also know that at the end of the Story He DOES get all the glory... Don’t we want to be part of making that happen!?
God graciously calls each of us to play our role in this Story of HIS GLORY. It is all about Him, but He does ask us to have minor yet significant speaking parts leading to the final scene.

And this is primarily our motivation for doing missions today. The point certainly isn’t “us,” and it’s not even “them.” It’s GOD. It’s putting His goodness and holiness on display for all to see because He is so worthy.
As John Piper says, “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.”

We do missions, both short and long, here and around the world, because billions have not yet been given the opportunity and privilege to GLORIFY GOD.
OUR mission exists because THEIR worship doesn’t... YET.

  • Judy Collins, Beth Knight-Pinneo, Mark Lynch and 7 others like this

chipped china
Jul 11 2012 10:08 PM
Amen, right to the point...
    • Janet Root likes this
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My husband and I were just talking about this part we play in glorifying God, and you summed it up: God's glory revealed in all nations, tribes, people and tongues. In John 12 Jesus said to the Father, "Glorify your name..." And the Father answered, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again." And we get to be a part of His plan! Amen.
    • Sarah Bourns likes this
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