"Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people."
On Wednesday night of our missions conference, our keynote speaker, Dr. David Pittman, shared a heart-wrenching story of how his son Jeremy was mugged and beaten by a group of thugs while serving on the mission field of Africa. He was bloody, bones were broken, and he couldn't even speak a coherent sentence to his mother on his cell phone because he was so badly injured. Someone picked him up off the side of the road and, eventually, he made it to the nearest African hospital, several grueling hours away. Dr. Pittman told how he was "stitched up" with (literally) shoe laces, and then sent back to America for further treatment and recovery.
For several long months, Jeremy and his family were off the field, as he prayed and waited to regain his health and strength once again.
The point of his illustration was not to warn people how dangerous the mission field can be, nor was it to seek sympathy for his son and other missionaries suffering "the hard life." The point of the illustration became clear when Dr. Pittman shared the words that his son spoke once he was fully recovered:
"Dad, it's time to go back."
Well, Thursday night (late Thursday night) I told my little son, Tommy, that I would tell him a story before he went to bed. So I told him the story of the missionary named Jeremy, who went to Africa to tell people about Jesus. I explained that some bad men came and were "hitting him" and "hurting him," and that he had to come back home to his parents so he could get better. But then I told him, that when Jeremy was all better, he decided to go back to Africa, so that he could continue telling people over there about Jesus, including the bad people that hurt him.
When I was done telling the story, my soon-to-be three-year-old, with childlike innocence and sincerity, not fully understanding "the cost" that so many missionaries have suffered, said these words:
"Dada, when I'm a 'dult, I be a missionary and tell people about Jesus!"
I don't know if God will call my son Tommy to be a missionary. But if He does, I will be so honored!
I don't know if my son will have the faith and courage to follow God's calling on his life. But if he does, I will be so proud!
I don't know if my son, my wife, or I will have to suffer great persecution for Christ. But if we do, I pray God will use it to bring glory to Himself and salvation to many multitudes!
Thank you, Jeremy, for loving God and loving people enough to go back to Africa.
Thank you, Dr. Pittman, for loving God and loving people enough to encourage and send your son to the mission field...and then back again!
Thank you, mom and dad, for always praying for me, modeling for me, and encouraging me to trust God, obey God, and follow God's calling, regardless of "the cost."
Thank You, Lord, for using me in a small way to accomplish the mission of reaching lost souls for Christ.
Would You please use my son like You're using Dr. Pittman's son, Jeremy?
Would You please use my son like You used Your own Son, Jesus?
"And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry."
(I Timothy 1:12)