For those of you who don’t know him, David Platt first and foremost is a Christ follower. Currently, he is a pastor at McLean Bible Church. Some may know him by his book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. From 2014 though 2017, Platt was president of the International Mission Board (IMB). Furthermore, many also know him through Secret Church, an intensive Bible study simulcast meant to imitate experiences of the underground church. He has no doubt been on the forefront of getting God’s gospel to the nations. Recently, he published a book titled, Something Needs to Change.
Real and Raw
In his new work, Platt covers his journey through the Himalayan mountains as he struggles with questions of evil, pain, suffering, and calling. My oldest brother, Tim, encouraged me to read Platt’s new book and gifted it too me this past Christmas. After reading the intro, I was hooked. Because of previous experience with missions, I was able to make countless connections with things that Platt describes seeing and being astonished by in these remote mountains: starvation, sacrifice, struggle, slavery, and much more. As he hikes from settlement to settlement, there is a constant thread: lostness. He comes into contact with hundreds of people who never heard the gospel, but better yet, will NOT even have the chance to.
Imagine seeing people, hurt and scared, who have striven their whole lives to simply survive, yet you know that without the gospel, they will spend eternity separated from God. What a troubling thought, one that is unfortunately a reality for millions. Check this article out from Caleb on what happens to people who have never heard the gospel.
What Matters Most?
Eventually, after seeing so many people hurting, Platt reaches a climax in his thinking. He describes his yearn to help these people he sees hurting. For a moment, his passion is to solve the physical needs of those he is around. Platt searches, asking the people he is with why they can’t help these villagers. Internally, he knows that the eternal need is greater than the physical, but it just doesn’t look that way on the outside. There are immediate needs that could be helped with, so why not do that? Throughout this journey, the Lord is slowly speaking to Platt through Luke, showing him that while the physical need is great and needs to be met, it pales in comparison with the need for eternal salvation. We need eternal saving. Eternal suffering is worse than physical suffering; eternal salvation is greater than physical salvation.
“17For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. “2 Corinthians 4:17-18
God, What Can I Do?
This journey, while thousands of miles away on another continent, is similar to our lives. We see the physical and we want to help. But how often do we think of the eternal? Do we question if someone is saved eternally, because unfortunately, no amount of physical healing has saving value if that person does not know Jesus. As Platt’s journey came to an end, he knew Jesus was calling him to give it all up for His plan. Jesus calls us to be willing to go anywhere, do anything, and give anything up for the sake of His kingdom. How many of us will do that? Will you go to that place that has NO knowledge of the gospel?
It is time we decide who we are going to serve. We need to evaluate whether our own views of success are the same as God’s, if not, we need to change them. Take some time to meditate on these reflection questions:
- God, where are you leading me?
- What are you calling me to give up?
- What am I pursuing that is not giving you glory?
- Why am I not following Your calling in my life?
In closing, I hope you are yearning to follow God’s call in your life. However, we first need to see the spiritual need for salvation, that which is beyond the physical. Jesus calls us to care for the poor and for those who are hurting physically, but his main call is for salvation of the heart. He desperately wants you and I and everyone on the face of the planet to sit at the table with Him in eternal glory. We are His plan for the spreading of this wonderful gospel. Be on the lookout for a post where I dig deeper into the calling Jesus lays on our hearts. Follow Him, may God be glorified!
In the meantime, check out Caleb’s book, Calling. Sending. Reaching. He shares how God is using teens to accomplish His mission.