I finished reading God's Secret Agent by Sammy Tippit and Jerry Jenkins last night. Here are my takeaways:
1. I am deaf. Seriously, I can hear people speaking, but I don't know if I've ever heard God speak to me as clearly as Sammy has. I know it's a me problem - I've got to become more sensitive through quiet time, reading the word and prayer.
2. I have no faith. Several times throughout the book, Sammy says his faith is small. What? He's traveling to dangerous places because of his faith. So, if his faith is small, what does that make mine?
3. My priorities are wrong. Sammy had to put God first in order to leave his wife and family behind for weeks on end so he could preach where God led him. Would I do that? I'm having trouble dealing with the fact that my wife is going to be away for 5 days in Ohio. What does that tell you about my priorities?
(This book didn't just beat me up. It also encouraged me.)
4. God still does miracles. Some of the things that have happened in Sammy's life are unbelievable ... unless you believe God is almighty. Looking back on my life, I can't recall many "supernatural" things, but I know God has spared me on a few occasions. So, I'm thankful for His control over all of life's circumstances.
5. God saves people, not me. It's a good thing, too, because the whole world would be going to hell if it were up to me to save people. This encouraged me because I get so nervous when I am in a situation where it seems appropriate to share my faith. Usually I never muster up the courage to do it. But, after reading Sammy's book, my perspective has changed. What have I got to lose? If someone is offended or thinks I'm crazy, why should that bother me? How is that going to make my life any worse?
6. The name of Jesus is incredibly powerful. One time Sammy saw a ferocious dog heading to attack him and all he could think to do was use the name of Jesus to rebuke that dog. The dog stopped, turned and ran the other way! I know Jesus' name does not only work on dogs, so I am encouraged to claim Him as my lord in every situation.
7. God provides. Sammy has made it a point in his ministry to never ask for money. Seriously. His belief is that if he's truly following where God is leading, the necessary funds will be provided. And they always were. That encourages me to seek God's will before anything else. For example, instead of seeking a higher-paying job or a cheaper place to live, I must first ask Him what his plan is for my life. If I can discern and follow that plan, He will provide the necessary means to get me there.
As literature goes, I'm no expert, but it doesn't take one to recognize an incredible story. This isn't the most captivating book I've read, but Sammy's life story is amazingly intriguing and inspiring. He chose to follow Jesus wherever He led. That commitment has taken him to every inhabited continent to preach the Gospel.
I know it's not safe to follow Jesus, but it is exciting. His will is unfathomably greater than any plans I could make. So, why wouldn't I follow Him?