Lately, I’ve been reading devotionally through Colossians. God in His providence brought me this morning to Colossians2 where the Holy Spirit writes through Paul, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, overflowing with gratitude”. (Col 2:6-7) What a timely reminder in the midst of Thanksgiving Week. As Christ-followers we should live each day “overflowing with gratitude”. Certainly each Christian has a multitude of blessings for which to express gratitude, the greatest of which is our personal, intimate, eternal relationship with God the Father. Made possible through the atoning death of Christ on the cross, this personal relationship with our Creator should be the central focus of our lives “overflowing with gratitude” during Thanksgiving Week.
But, this morning my gratitude also focuses on another blessing from the Lord. All this week, I’m thanking God for the person who introduced me to global missions and was used by God to start me down a path toward global disciple-making. His name is Ed Lacey. Today, Ed is a Preaching Evangelist based out of Mobile, Alabama and God is using Ed to do a mighty work for His glory. When I first met Ed I was a young Pastor serving in my first pastorate. In those days Ed was a Music Evangelist who traveled with Don Wilton, now Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Spartanburg, South Carolina.
As our friendship developed Ed extended a simple invitation for me to join him on an evangelistic trip to El Salvador. I accepted, traveled to El Salvador with Ed and the mission team, and God changed my life. As we shared Christ through personal evangelism, media evangelism, preaching and street ministry God convicted me that when Jesus said to make disciples of “all nations” He really meant “all nations” and that I had a personal responsibility to be involved in fulfilling the Great Commission. God seared upon my heart that responsibility for accomplishing the Great Commission must not and could not be “passed off” to my church, my denomination, a mission agency or vocational missionaries. Working toward fulfillment of the Great Commission was my personal responsibility as a Christ-follower. That lesson changed my life, it changed my ministry! This week, my life is “overflowing with gratitude” to God for so many blessings and to Ed Lacy for allowing God to use him to teach me one of the Bible’s greatest lessons. This week take time to thank the Father for the “Ed Lacey” in your life and if you can give your “Ed” a call so they can experience your heart for the nations “overflowing with gratitude”.
Now, the question that haunts me is “Am I allowing God to use me to teach this same Great Commission lesson to others?”