Nothing goes better with the new fall season than a fun, relaxed cookout! Sunny and 75 degrees made for a picture perfect time at Dave and Linda Soutter’s house on the intracoastal waterway, where nearly 35 folks gathered to enjoy some fellowship, dinner, and a message from Simon Guillebaud. We had a variety of fun things available such as swimming (for those brave souls who didn’t mind a little chill in the water), a zipline, bocce ball, and a crazy game of flag-football. Around 5:30 we all began to enjoy some southern fried chicken along with a host of sides, of which each family contributed. After supper we moved upstairs where Simon shared with us a DVD from his recent book “More than Conquerors” that captured everyone’s attention.
Anyone who has had the privilege of hearing Simon speak before knows that it is a unique opportunity that you don’t want to pass up, and this was not an exception. Simon challenged us as parents and children to live “dangerously alive” through and for Jesus. He discussed what it means to be a living sacrifice for the Kingdom of God not just by living in a foreign country like Burundi, but by applying the same principles that took Simon to Burundi in our own contexts and wherever God will lead us in our lives. Our opportunities for mission work aren’t simply abroad, but right here in Charleston – in our schools, our workplaces, and in our community. He encouraged us all to take stands for Jesus, by loving the unloved, by serving instead of consuming, and by having a sense of urgency since it was Jesus Himself who says in Matthew 24:42-43, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.”
I am always so blessed to hear long-term foreign missionaries share a message because it is this radical urgency that is so obvious in a foreign land that is also so blunted and diminished in the secluded, sheltered, and palatable parts of our world here in the States. When I spoke with Simon before this past event, he described his brief stint here in America as very difficult for him. It has been and will be a struggle while he is here not in spite of, but because of the accumulation and abundance of comfort and wealth here. In addition, he knows that the way of the cross is a radical, “dying-to-self” experience, and in doing so, true life is found. Simon is alive in Burundi because that is where God has placed him. Simon’s call is no different than the one given to you and I. He has been called to love, serve, and preach the good news in the way Jesus did to those in His care. May we also strive to answer God’s call similarly in our lives so that we may join Simon in experiencing that same wonderfully liberating sense of being alive!
Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be burdened by a yoke of slavery.”
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”