Today I will be attending the funeral service for one of my brothers in Christ (JE). I was privileged to travel with him and several others from our church on two of his final mission trips. My brother was a nurse who traveled with a Christian medical mission team all over the world. His family sacrificed so that he could obey God’s calling. They, together, enabled him to take God’s word and love to over 35 countries around the world on over 50 mission trips. Their faith and sacrifice have changed my life.
JE was just another man with a large family and many responsibilities. It was how he persistently pursued God’s calling, often through much difficulty, that made me curious and encouraged my own faith.
After many years of his encouraging others to go on international short term missions, he helped gather a group from our own congregation. Then for the next several years he would do the same. I was called to be one of the many. He made it easy for us to go and see what God was doing. He strengthened and encouraged us through the unknown to take courage and follow Jesus. I have now had the honor to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ in a foreign nation because of JE’s great faith!
And yet my story, our church’s story about JE was just one piece of the larger puzzle of what God has done through the life of one obedient son and his family. I know that it took great courage and great faith for his family to allow him to travel as he did. His health had not been the best. They financially sacrificed, they traveled with him, they missed him when he was gone, and they have prayed mightily for him over the years (as have many, many others).
Last week JE was united with Jesus. Oh what joy that brings to my soul. You see JE was HYSTERICAL! Ornery! Compassionate! Stubborn! And I just know that he is still cracking Jesus up, but now he is doing it face to face. I can’t wait to see him again! What great hope that is. What great assurance we have all because of the blood and sacrifice of my other brother Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ obedience to God gives me strength, and it gave JE strength. I hope that it strengthens you to obey God in His calling on your life. Go. Tell the good news of Jesus Christ. Share your story. Encourage those around you. Be bold for God’s truth. Love others well. Your days are short. None of us are promised tomorrow. Be encouraged. Be an encouragement to others. Follow Jesus. Press on!
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 ESV)