While Clay’s first trip as Director of Global Missions has come to an end, it is just the beginning of learning how to ask God to “spend me.” It’s a scary thing to do. And yet, it is the reason we were created: to be spent for His sake.
That doesn’t always mean it’s easy. Sometimes it’s actually really hard. Sometimes we feel empty, alone, and uncomfortable. Sometimes the journey feels long, like we are trudging through muddy waters.
We just celebrated Thanksgiving, and I find such inspiration from those Pilgrims who made that treacherous, long, and difficult journey to the New World. I think about how despite all they suffered, their joy was no doubt abounding and their hearts so full of gratitude upon their arrival to a new land, a new home, and a new freedom. The beauty and hope found in their arrival far outweighed the difficulties of the journey.
Isn’t that such a beautiful picture of this life and the Gospel? We may endure pain and suffering and heartache. We may endure loss for the sake of the Cross. We may endure ridicule and division and sorrow. And yet, we have such wonderful freedom even in the midst of our long and arduous journey made possible by that very cross.
We have a hope for the ultimate freedom we will one day find when we, too, arrive at our destination. When we walk through those shining gates of Heaven, there will be no more tears or suffering or pain. There will be endless joy and singing and freedom. And everything for which we spent ourselves to the Lord’s Kingdom will be more than worth the cost.
When I was in sixth grade, I was given a card during a purity talk at Pine Cove Camps that read:
He costs everything; He is worth the price. You cost everything; You are worth the price.
How much does that truth extend to every area of our lives?
Jesus paid the ultimate price for us – He sacrificed His life for us (and in the most excruciating manner. In fact, the term “excruciating” was created specifically to depict the pain of crucifixion); the least we can do is live for Him. The least we can do is ask of Him:
And when we really get to know the character of our God, when we really experience a relationship with Him, it doesn’t seem like such a scary thing to ask after all. He provides for us when we feel empty. He shows up for us in big and small ways when we feel alone. He comforts us when we are uncomfortable.
Clay is such a wonderful example of a follower of Christ who faithfully seeks to be spent for His sake. I am learning from my husband daily what it looks like to have a Kingdom heart and a missional mind. And though I’ll be honest… even knowing all these truths, it’s still not always easy. I’ll be even more honest… it’s rarely easy! Ministry can be tough. It’s awkward conversations and people who aren’t always easy to love. It’s late nights and physically exhausting at times. It’s being stretched far beyond your comfort zone by going camping (regularly!) It’s lonely evenings longing to connect with a new husband who’s halfway around the world on a mission trip.
Coming alongside a pastor in this life is stretching me in SO many ways. I am learning (and not always gracefully) what it feels like to be spent for the Kingdom. Thankfully in the midst of the being stretched, I have a partner through it all who constantly encourages me, prays for and with me, and speaks truth into my life. Even when he’s the one who’s really being spent thousands of miles away across the globe, somehow he musters up the strength and selflessness and sweetness of heart to be the one to comfort me!
I continue to learn so much about what it means to live a life of asking God to “spend me” as I watch from the example of this man who has such a mighty heart for missions, who fearlessly steps into the unknown and into the most uncomfortable of situations to love on those who need to know the love of our Savior, who travels to the “ends of the earth” to meet with those working tirelessly to make the name of Jesus known, who lives out so well this calling of being spent for eternal purposes.
“You have nothing to do but to save souls; therefore spend and be spent in this work.” – John Wesley
“Spend me, O Lord. It’s what I’m made for and why you set me free.” – Kendall Payne, Spend Me
Would we carry our spirit of thanksgiving with us always as we remember that there is freedom in our sacrifice, in our “suffering” for the sake of Jesus, in the spending of ourselves for His Kingdom.