by Amanda Anganes
In Sunday School we’ve been reading Radical by David Platt. It’s an interesting read, and it raises a lot of questions. Last week we discussed commands that God has issued for all believers, contrasted with our more modern-day notion of requiring a “call” to do certain things. In particular, we talked about general evangelism and short-term missions trips. Platt makes a point that the Great Commission was not given with the caveat of “if you feel called” – it was simply issued as a command for all believers:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
As a child and young adult, I thought of missions (including short-term missions trips) as requiring some kind of “calling” feeling to be present. I was nervous about the prospect of going on a missions trip and figured that since I didn’t feel whatever a “call” was supposed to feel like, I wasn’t supposed to go.
This past year my perspective changed. I had an opportunity to go to the Mission of Hope, Haiti, with a team from my church in January 2012. My husband went the summer before, and he had an amazing experience. It was logistically possible for me to go this time, and he wanted to go back, so would I like to go? I still didn’t think I felt called. I thought and prayed about it for a little while.
To be honest, thinking about making a final choice was very uncomfortable. In human terms, there are a lot of things to worry about when contemplating a trip to a foreign country. I had never been out of the United States before, and Haiti is not the most comfortable place to go. Living and working conditions would be rough, sanitation and disease are valid concerns, I don’t speak Creole or French, and voodoo is rampant.
Eventually, I decided that I wanted to go out of obedience to God’s command, rather than waiting to have a feeling about it. As soon as I did that, the worry went away as I began leaning on God to work out the details. He did not disappoint. On that trip, I had some amazing experiences and saw God at work in the people we encountered in Haiti, in the team members I traveled with, and in myself. There are so many things I could talk about from that trip, but one of the biggest lessons I learned is that God rewards obedience.
I don’t deny that believers can and do receive calls to particular ministry, nor do I mean to make light of anyone who has been called to full-time ministry. What I would like to offer is simply a voice of encouragement. Maybe you have had an opportunity to go on a short-term missions trip and have struggled with the thought of call as I did. If so, I would encourage you that the Great Commission was meant for all of us. Waiting to have some kind of feeling before acting can be paralyzing, but stepping out in obedience to God, disregarding yourself, is freeing.
(Editor’s Note: At by design, it is our mission to train women to serve and influence others for Christ. I hope this edition of Woman to Woman helps you do just that. If so, please share this with the important women in your life. You can sign up to receive the Woman to Woman eNewsletter before it is available on the blog.
This year we are reprising some of our favorite Summer Sampler articles from previous years. This article was originally published in 2012.)
Amanda Anganes lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Andrew, with whom she will celebrate her seventh wedding anniversary in August. She works as a software developer, but in her off-hours can be found knitting and sewing, hiking and rock climbing, or serving in the music ministry at her church.