Do you have any plans in the coming four weeks? Ah, yes – those last few presents to buy. Cementing a few Christmas plans? Me too. Figuring out what you’re going to do on New Year’s Eve? Well, not me so much – going to the Whiteley’s for the 3rd Annual NYE Partay Baby! But what about after that? Lord willing, in one short month, I’ll be standing in the Louisville International Airport saying good bye to a family that is very dear to me. My pastor and his family are heading to Zambia. It’s not for a short-term mission trip – they are going to live there. What couple in their right mind would take five children (12 years old and younger), half a world away, to live in an impoverished country with the following statistics:
60% LIVING ON $1 PER DAY
LIFE EXPECTANCY = 38 YEARS
Who would do such a thing? Well, I’ll tell you. A family that has a desire to see the church of Jesus Christ expand in the continent of Africa. You see, those statistics are what make Zambia a fertile field for the gospel. Nearly everyone has been affected by HIV/AIDS in that country. Poverty is rampant. Death is not some far off event that “may or may not” happen – death is real. And where death is not some distant event, little boys and girls and grown men and women understand their own frailty. With that, blessedly, thoughts turn to eternal things. The gospel is spreading because men and women WANT TO HEAR about hope beyond the grave.
That’s where my pastor and his family come in. They are leaving a beautiful home on five or so acres, the creature comforts that we take for granted (reliable electricity, paved roads, drinkable tap water and instant internet access to name a few), friends and family and a church that loves them – why? For Christ. Really you may ask? Yeah, really. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26–33 NKJV)
This phrase ‘my disciple’ of the Lord Jesus occurs three times in these eight verses – this is the only place that it occurs in the New Testament. Without getting into a long exegesis of the text, I want to point you to three quick things. 1. Christ comes before family (Luke 14:26). 2. Great sacrifice is required to be Jesus’ disciple (Luke 14:27). 3. You must be willing to forsake all to be Jesus’ disciple (Luke 14:33).
That’s what the Williamson family is doing. What part can you play? Well, you can learn more about the ministry here. If you have further questions, please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).