A good investment in life?

It may seem obvious to say it – but – we only have one life to live and one chance to invest it.

I have been spectacularly bad at discerning how to do this wisely. For instance, as a son of an economic migrant, my first attempt was to invest myself in my identity as a member of an ethnic minority; my second attempt was into becoming a Counter-tenor in an Oxbridge college choir followed by a choral career; when that idea flopped my third attempt was into education and to become one of Britain’s earliest black head teachers; my fourth and final attempt was in the direction of Anglican ordination as one of the earlier non-Caucasian intake.

Needless to say, not only did all of the above come to nothing but they proved sterile – at that point God stepped in and did a “citizen’s arrest”. He showed me that, on conversion, I had received a sort of DNA transfer from Jesus. I began to pay more attention to the ‘Christ within’ and began to realise God has a bespoke purpose for my life – of his choosing.

I was to invest my life in God’s purposes for the nations. I became smitten with divine love for the nations; who knew that within our lifetime the following would become a reality:

  • Nearly a quarter of a billion people worldwide are on the move in the purposes of God and residing outside their birth-country.
  • The biggest shift in the history of Christian mission in centuries, would change mission-sending patterns to become multi-directional (i.e. ‘from everywhere to everywhere’).
  • Just like the so-called “full-time” mission workers, many Christians are now rubbing shoulders daily with Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Muslims.
  • All Christians need equipping and resources for cross-cultural witness and it would behove mission agencies to provide it.
  • When mission workers get kicked out of one country (as I was) they simply carry on working elsewhere with people of the same ethnic-groups and religious heritage.

Of course God who is steering human history (Eph.1:11) knew this would happen. Our life-preparation for involvement in God’s purpose is always best fit for us. It enables us to take part in the critical shifts which periodically change the direction of world mission. Someone said:

If you waste time pursuing your own goals, your only legacy is fulfilling your own dreams; if you try to please others, your legacy is fulfilling the plans of others. But if you set out to fulfill the divine purpose for your life, your legacy becomes a tribute to God, who plans to use your life to make an eternal (rather than a professional) difference. Let God set your agenda and follow him in it. Have you found that yet? 

To achieve this, we need to slow down and reflect where to invest ourselves; and stop long enough to grasp God’s plan for you. As you discern it, get in sinc with it. The enemy is pleased when we get so busy doing good things, we miss the eternal purpose for your life. Our good can be the enemy of His best.’

In fast-moving times there will always be a role with your name on it! We’re standing with you for God’s best. We will be in harness until our final breath. For us as a fellowship an Iranian pastor was right when he said: “Your mission is not just to Asia and the Arab world (i.e. its geographical turf) but to its peoples, wherever they are; and wherever you are.”


Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

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Steve Bell

Steve Bell

National Director at Interserve
A mission leader, analyst, trainer and author, Steve is a recognised communicator with 40 years’ experience in 100 countries. He taught Muslim children in a British inner-city school and then adults in the Middle East. He studied Islamics at Nottingham University, All Nations Christian College, Evangelical Seminary Cairo and Southern Cross College Sydney and has directed Carey College, Action Partners (formerly SUM) and currently is National Director for Interserve. Steve is author of 'Friendship First, Gospel for Muslims and Gospel for Muslims' and co-edited 'Between Naivety & Hostility'. Steve has been a regular speaker for Spring Harvest, Keswick Convention, New Wine and the conferences of FIEC and AOG. He also networks with Mosque and church community leaders on constructive interface and sharing; mission leaders on ‘Islam and Christian witness’ and advises parliamentarians on the issue of ‘social cohesion’. His passion in life is to facilitate ‘ordinary’ Christians discussing good news with 'ordinary' Muslims. He has championed the ‘grace and truth’ (Jn.1:14,17) response to Muslim people for over 20 years. Steve is married to Julia, a senior teacher and, when not enjoying long walks, serious music and cruising, they are “owned” at home by a mentally deranged Siamese cat called Izzy.
Steve Bell

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