As so often happens, during my (Matthew) quiet time with the Lord, a verse struck me as speaking to my situation at that moment. For you see, it is so easy to want lose heart and focus here in Equatorial Brazil. The culture is different. The language is difficult. The service at church is different and long. A trip to the store is, to some extent, different. These things are not sinful in and of themselves but it is so easy to allow yourself to focus only on these things. I am sure these are tools in the hand of the evil one too, used to divert us from our task and unfortunately I am at times easily diverted.
Nevertheless, our family was called to the mission field for a season and we should be focus on the task at hand for is a privilege to serve our Lord here, in this place and at this time. So, on one of those days when the heat was almost unbearable, the culture frustrating and one just wanted retreat to an English speaking television program and an expensive-to-run air-condition room, this verse confront me “… let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith… (Hebrews 12:1b-2a).” It is amazing how the Holy Spirit can bring to bear on us the weight of Scripture. Those words “lay aside,” “ensnares,” “run,” “endurance,” and “keeping” all seem to speak to me and say that I must again remember to treat this time of service to Lord as if it truly meant something…for you see it does. God did not bring the Gilpin family here for no reason. Rather, our sovereign Lord brought us here to reach the lost. So, on those days when it is hot (wait, it is always hot) and on those day when I am frustrated, I hope to remember to put on my running shoes, set my sights on the Christ and run!
Therefore, no matter where you are today, remember that you need to lay aside all those things that turn your attention from God and focus on the one that truly matters, Jesus Christ. Who endured even to the point of death for your sake and for mine.