Summary: Our lives have purpose and we’re called on to choose that purpose.
Choosing to Make a Difference with your Life
November 13, 2004
Franklin Graham grew up as the oldest son of the famous American evangelist Billy Graham. From the time he was little, Franklin was seen to be his father’s obvious heir. He was told over and over again by family, friends, and supporters that he would be a great preacher and evangelist when he grew up- just like his dad. The only problem was that Franklin didn’t want to be a preacher or a missionary at all. He believed in God, sort of- but he saw the missionary life as something that would take away from his own zest for life and freedom. He wanted to experience adventure and thrill in life- and he didn’t see these things as being part of the whole Christian service lifestyle. That seemed pretty boring and unthrilling to him.
That was before he was taken under the wings of Bob Pierce. Bob was a long-time family friend, and one who had been instrumental in the work of World Vision. Later, he became the leader of a Christian service agency called “Samaritans Purse”. One day Bob convinced Franklin to join him for a several month tour around the world, to see the good will projects that Samaritan’s Purse was involved in. The tour took them to places that included Korea and Hong Kong, then on to Dutch Borneo, where they landed on a small, crude landing strip that ended at the edge of a deep ravine, and a village that was ruled by a witch doctor. Then, they went on to Thailand to see the refugee crisis of that area, as people fled from the Communist rule in Cambodia, then on to India where pagan Hindu religion blinds and enslaves people. From there, they went to Katmandu, Nepal and Iran, before returning to the United States. During that time, the two of them crisscrossed the country-side in Land Rovers, hop-scotched across rugged mountain tops in single-engine airplanes and floated down rain-swollen rivers in pontoon boats. They had narrow escapes from bandits and near-fatal encounters with rebel insurgents. In that trip, Franklin experienced all the thrills of a lifetime.
But he also saw the incredible suffering and hardship that the vast majority of the world’s population has to endure, day by day. He saw for himself exactly what the world was like. And he saw that there were indeed Christians, like Bob Pierce, who had dedicated their lives to doing something about it. After those months, Franklin was hooked. Bob asked him to join him in the mission and Franklin accepted. The reason that he could say ‘yes’ was that he had seen that doing God’s work was thrilling, and he could do it, having to do two things he absolutely enjoyed- piloting small airplanes and carrying a gun.
According to some sources, just 5% of believers are involved in 95% of the Christian mission to the world. The vast majority of Christians live their lives mostly for themselves. They go to church, they marry other Christians and they raise Christian families-, all of which are scriptural and important. But is that all there is to it? Isn’t there more to the Christian life than that?
Jesus said that the thing that drove him in life was to see His father’s will accomplished in people and he said that he wanted to see His followers have that same passion.
John 4.34; 14.12-14.
The ultimate goal of the Christian life is to join in the mission- to take your place in the historical work of bringing the Kingdom of God to the four corners of the globe.
What does it take for someone to make such a radical decision with his or her life? What kind of person sees himself or herself as being God’s servant on earth? And how old do you have to be before you can think that way?
The American Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then-Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. From that inspiration grew an agency of the federal government devoted to world peace and friendship. In 1961, then President John Kennedy established the Peace Corps to promote world peace and friendship. Three simple goals comprise the Peace Corps’ mission: 1. Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women, 2. Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served, 3. Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of all Americans.
Under the aegis of the Peace Corps, so far, over 190,000 volunteers have worked on projects in 135 countries. Some have been involved in such projects as bringing clean water to countries in Africa, where the volunteers live in a village and spend time with the people there, and build a water purifying system to bring clean water to the village. Some projects have homes being built, or schools being staffed. These are worthy missions.