Tuesday, June 7, 2011

[ David's Story ]*

This one is by David:

When I first graduated college I really came out into the professional world with a lot of ambitious intentions. My dad is a great Christian man and very successful by the world's standards, as well. People have always said that we have similar personalities, so the assumption was that I'd follow in his footsteps and use my business degree much in the same way he has.

As soon as I graduated I landed an internship with Governor Sonny Perdue and spent the next five months at the Capitol, spending a lot of time in intimate meetings with the Governor and his closest advisers. I also had the good fortune to do a lot of work for a commission that the governor had appointed comprised of CEO's from some of the biggest corporations based in Georgia, such as Waffle House, BB&T, etc., and even Arthur Blank was in a lot of the meetings I took part in.

From there, I went to work for a popular regional outdoor magazine. I got hired to sell advertising, but had for several years been interested in writing. Within a couple of months of being hired on, I started writing news briefs in addition to my ad duties, then full-length features, then my own monthly column. A couple of years later and I was off to Augusta to work for a group of respected national magazines, which included several of my favorite titles. God blessed me with a book deal shortly thereafter, which seemed surreal. I was satisfied in my work and loved what I did, but the low-pressure schedule of producing magazines that were released only every-other month resulted in my work ethic declining, as I knew that I only had to really work hard a couple of days a week to get my job done.

Rising gas prices put an end to my time working for the magazines in Augusta, as the 200-mile-a-day commute became too costly. I took a corporate job with the promise and potential of moving up quickly. But my lack of conviction in my work ethic led to a disappointed employer and a short stint for me there. My shameful sin of laziness led to me (and more importantly, my wife) being in a bad position, with no work and a tanking economy with little hope of employment. I went through a time of depression and even stopped eating almost altogether for the five months I was out of work, going from about 210 pounds down to 165. 

It was during this dark, difficult, testing time in my life that Kyle Berry, my godly wife, and several others encouraged me to use my "time off" to head to India with a group of men from FBCL.

The hard truth is that if I had never lost my job - even because of my own sin - I would have never even thought of using vacation time to go on a foreign mission trip to a third-world country. Knowing what I know now, vacation time can't be better spent than in a way such as this. There's no trip to the beach or mountains that can compete with serving others and experiencing God abroad. 

I can't imagine my life now without that first, life-shattering trip across the world. I can't imagine my life now not having seen God work the way He did on that trip in 2009. I can't imagine not knowing of Edwin and Bujji and the incredible way they live - with faith and without fear, trusting that God will provide. I can't imagine life without knowing what it feels like to be laying on a bed built for a five-foot-tall Indian, sweating out a 104-degree fever, then having a group of the most precious children on God's Earth surrounding me, hugging me, and praying with a great intensity for my health for some 30 minutes without ceasing.  

This might not sound appealing to some, of course. Paul told the church at Corinth that to those who are dying, the message of the cross is foolishness - but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. I think a lot of God's ways are foolishness to the lost, but to those of us who know His grace, being an alien in a foreign land and with a sick body... but in His will... is the sweetest place in the world.

God wants to use YOU, as ill-equipped as you may be, to spread His Gospel and advance His kingdom. He will equip you, He will provide for you and He will protect you until His work for you on this earth is finished. Will you do your part and go for His sake, and for the sake of billions of souls headed to hell? If you won't, who will? 

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