It is 12:30 a.m. as I write this. It is long past my bedtime, but I must write this. Tonight, I watched, once again, portions of a recording from the 2006 North American Christian Convention. Rick Atchley was the featured speaker for the final session of the convention. As I skipped ahead to get to Rick’s message, I saw the words, “Here am I. Send me. – Isaiah” on screen. I pressed the reverse button and went back to the beginning of that segment. I had seen these quotations several times before, but tonight they hit me—hard. Projected over satellite images of various parts of the earth were quotes like these:
I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light. -John Falconer
In the vast plain to the north I have sometimes seen, in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been. -Robert Moffat
The command has been to “go,” but we have stayed—in body, gifts, prayer and influence. He has asked us to be witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth. -Robert Savage
We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first. -Oswald J. Smith
This is the one that hit me the hardest:
“‘Not called!” did you say? “Not heard the call,” I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters, and servants and masters not to come there. And then look Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish his mercy to the world. -William Booth
Through my tears, I copied down the words. Then, Rick Atchley’s message came on, and I heard again the words I’ve heard many times now. Tonight, the impact was far greater.
“One day in particular, I preached for several hours under three mango trees to 400 people. Twenty-five percent of my audience was dying of HIV. Everywhere I looked, there were orphans. Everywhere I looked, there were people praying for their next meal. And it hit me. I don’t care if you want to call me a pastor or a preacher. I don’t care what your view of the Millenium is, and I don’t care if you want to sing with or without a guitar. Just come stand under that tree, and help me tell those people about Jesus.”
This all came on the heels of my hearing the song “Here Am I” by Stephen Snider for the first time yesterday.
Here Am I
So many lost and dying in this world today
Have you heard their crying
Or do you turn away
The harvest now is plenteous
But the laborers are few.
God needs some willing vessels to be used.
Here am I
I will go
I will reach the lost untold
I will give the Lord control
I will tell them of the crimson flow.
Is it too late for caring
Does Jesus really save
Are we truly praying
For the blind to find their way
Little children are falling into
A burning Hell
Will anyone heed the calling to go and tell?
For my Saviour died
On that old rugged cross
He thought of me when
He counted the cost
How can I say that I love Him
If I don’t reply?
O Lord, I do love you, and I do reply. Here am I. Send me! God, wherever you want me to go, I will go. I have heard your call. You know how much I love the people of Honduras, but if you want me to go somewhere else, I will. If you want to change my Honduras plans, change them. If Honduras is where you want me, help me to stay the course. Direct my path, O God. Show me the way you want me to go.
Lord, help me to not waste the rest of my life. I can’t change the past, but, God, with your help I can keep from wasting the rest of my life. Help me, please to follow Jesus, to obey his commands. Father, Jesus said to “go into all the world.” Jesus said his disciples would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. In Jesus’ most holy and precious name, I beg you, Father. Send me. Amen.