Christian Excuses: I'll serve when I'm Older
This Christian Excuse is the modern version of the story of the Rich young ruler. In this instance, we could change the story title to the Busy young Man or perhaps the Ambitious Young Man. In the biblical version of this story, Jesus hears a sincere question from a bold follower. In the process of answering the young man's inquiry, Jesus reveals that though the man was very busy following the religious rules, his true god was money. That was the one thing that he was not willing to relinquish.
In this modern Christian Excuse, we see a similar pattern. The opportunity to serve the Master is there. The Christian acknowledges that the cause is worthy. But upon hearing that this pearl of great price will cost them the prime years of their life, they turn away in sadness.
"Time is a currency you can only spend once, so be careful how you spend it." --Harmon Okinyo
Intellectually, we know that God's redemptive purpose on this earth is valuable. But it seems that it's not as important as our happiness. Passionately pursuing Jesus requires multiple sacrifices.
There is the financial sacrifice. 'Maybe I won't make as much money if I spend my time serving the Lord. Then I won't get to buy the cars I want or live in the house I deserve. Once I accumulate more, then I will have more to give, and I will willingly give some of it to the Lord.'
Then we see the social sacrifice. Being an outspoken and active Christian openly serving, witnessing, and ministering both in America and overseas doesn't do great things to your social status. It makes you an oddity in most circles. Most workplaces will tolerate a Christian until they start living out their faith outside of the church walls.
Finally, there is a cultural sacrifice. Many Christians believe in American exceptionalism (I count myself among them), but when we put the advancement of American culture and priorities above those of the Kingdom of God, we find ourselves in a dangerous place.
One day, America will be no more. A day is coming where baseball, apple pie, and the stars and stripes will be put in juxtaposition with the mighty, eternal, universal Kingdom of God. When you see them side by side, any sane person chooses the kingdom of God. To serve in the Kingdom of God, you must realize that the "kingdom" of America is not worthy in comparison, and therefore your time and efforts are better spent in service to the Everlasting Kingdom.
I still remember the first person I saw come to Christ in Peru. She was an old Asheninka woman on the Pichis River. After hearing about Jesus for the first time and believing, then being baptized, She gave us missionaries a tongue lashing.
Raising her voice, she looked directly at us with her cataract enshrouded eyes, and she said, "
"Where were you when I was young?! You waited until I was an old woman and about to die before you brought me this "good news"?! If I had heard when I was a young woman, I could have lived my whole life serving God, but now I only have a few years left." She concluded her lecture by saying, "But I will use the years that I have remaining to serve God."
That speech made a lasting impact on me. I had the privilege of hearing the good news early in my life, what a waste it would be if I squandered that.
This Asheninka woman had a valid point. Where were we when she was young? Why didn't someone tell her the beautiful life-changing story of Jesus before her best years were behind her? I believe the reason is that the church is not aware of the urgency of the gospel. It's hard to say, "I'll serve when I am older" if you believe that people are dying and going to hell every day, simply because there are not enough messengers.
The Lucky Ones
I often hear people in the US say, "Oh, I could never do what you missionaries do." Or "We appreciate your sacrifice to go to Africa" Every time I hear it, I cringe inside. I don't think they know what they are saying.
The small sacrifices that are made pale in comparison to the rewards we receive. After you have been serving for a while, you realize that you are one of the lucky ones. Missionaries are never to be pitied but envied. We have the privilege of making His name great in the hearts and lives of men. The rewards greatly outweigh the sacrifice.
Serve the Lord sacrificially while you are young, I promise you will not miss out on anything at all. Our modern Christian culture tells you that your youth belongs to you, and your golden years belong to the Lord, but that is a lie. "Don't you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body." (1 Cor 6:19-20)
The truth is most people who promise to serve the Lord when they are old, never do. By the time they get older, they have become physically unable (at best) or self-absorbed and addicted to money and comfort (at worst).
We have many older volunteers that join us here, working with refugees. Most of them have one thing in common. They have been serving since they were young. They started early, and they are finishing well. That is how I want to live my life. I want to spend myself for His glory until my dying breath. You can do the same. It is never too late to start.
STOP MAKING EXCUSES:
serve in a local ministry to the homeless
make yourself available to a Vet just coming home.
Serve single mothers, immigrants, or refugees.
Go on a mission trip overseas and see how you can use your skills and your life to extend His kingdom into unknown areas.
Help a young church get their feet under them and gain the ability to have an impact on the world around them.
After doing these things, you will find that moving overseas and spending your prime years' kingdom building is no loss at all. In fact, you will find that in the process of losing your life, you found it.
Read the other Christian Excuses here: