Counting the cost of a dream come true
Have you ever finally reached the top of a personal mountain? Have you ever accomplished a longtime goal, or experienced a vision or dream come true? Maybe it was getting married to your knight in shining armor, or being promoted to that position you had always wanted. Maybe you graduated first in your class - or just graduated, hallelujah!
But now that you’ve arrived, what's next? Have you discovered that it’s hard work to maintain your dream once you’re here? Now that you’re on the mountain, you realize you could die up here. The new position you have been promoted to comes with new, more difficult responsibilities. Now that you’re married, you are quickly learning that it takes lots of work to stay happy.
Is it worth it?
At the moment of this writing, I am on the other side of the world, alone in a humble little room. The temperature outside is 93 degrees headed toward 100 by the afternoon. That would not be so bad, except that the power is out, which means we have no air conditioning, no fans, and no running water. Even though the power goes down regularly here for a short time due to strategic distribution, this incident has been unusually long and is due to a regional outage.
I have just finished speaking in chapel at Hindustan Bible Institute in Chennai, India. This morning the short-term missions team that’s came with me is at a school of 2000 impoverished Hindu children. They are presenting the message of Christ through music, drama, Bible verses, and they’re also teaching self-defense for rape prevention. They have served in medical clinics, visited boys and girls homes, and have even taught classes on how to care for special needs children. One team member even consulted with farmers on how to prepare their fields for growing crops. Every day, we are thrown into challenging circumstances where we’re each considered experts in our field - even if we are not.
Next week, after the team returns home, I will travel by train north to a village where only one white person has shown up in public for as long as some can remember. And that white person was me, last year. I will train regional pastors, speak in churches, and do children's ministry for six days - four sessions a day. There will be no air conditioning and very little else while I am there. Then I come back to Chennai and teach all day every day for another week at a pastor's conference of 800 pastors representing five different languages, from the entire nation of India. All in all, I will have spoken forty times before I am done. I cannot explain to you the challenge that this is for me - or anyone, for that matter.
So I'm asking myself, "Is it worth it?" The total cost for the 9 member team was $32,000 (by the way, none of which came from the Life Church budget, all came from personal money or from faith supporters). I will also be away from Carol for over 30 days. And did I mention that it's hot? …Really hot. Is it worth it?
Almost nine years ago, when we first planted Life Church, I specifically prayed that the Lord would show me where on the planet we were needed the most to get involved; a place where I could give myself in a major way and then lead the church into a high-impact mission partnership to help fulfill the great commission. This was my dream, my vision, my hope for graduating to a higher level of global impact.
Four years after that, the Lord revealed to me the exact location, people, and partnership. And now, five years later, we are supporting the training of 20 church-planting pastors, planting 100 churches, leading 10,000 people to Christ in seven years. On top of that we are now sending teams to come alongside our partners at Hindustan Bible Institute in serving and reaching the people of India with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Is it worth it? Are you kidding me? This is the great commission we're talking about, here! We are participating in fulfilling the mission that Jesus specifically left for us to do. "Go and make disciples of all the nations..."
Yes, dreams fulfilled become hard work. But the reward is in the joy of serving. The satisfaction is in seeing others around you blessed and growing. And the ultimate celebration is in the lives changed when people discover everlasting life in Christ.
What is your dream to fulfill? Are you afraid that it will not be worth the hard work that it takes to achieve and sustain it? I have a word of advice for you. Make sure your dream is worth the sacrifice. Choose a vision that comes from heaven. May that new job be a place where you can share the love of Christ. Let your marriage become a team of ministry to people in need. After graduation, pursue a career where you can serve your gifts and talents in a way that honors Christ and His kingdom. And use that financial blessing to advance His kingdom around the world. Then you can give your whole heart to your dream, knowing that the end of it will be better than its beginning.
Philippians 3:14 says, "I press toward the goal for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Yes, I'd say it's probably worth it! What do you think?