BEAVERDAM, Va. – Georgia Pastor Jeremy Morton challenged a fresh crew of International Mission Board missionaries to always keep an intimate relationship with Jesus their top priority.
“Intimacy with Jesus gives us the clarity we need to navigate the complexity of our world,” he said. “Every single day, we must intentionally sit in the Lord Jesus’ presence and be filled by His Spirit and His Word. Whether you are a teenager or a widow or a man or a mom, whether you’re new at this or so old in this you need help getting to the car tonight, we never outgrow our need to sit in Jesus’ presence and be humbly reminded of our dependence on Him.”
Morton, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., had been invited to Virginia as pastor of one of IMB’s most supportive congregations to address 24 new missionaries, their families and friends, and the agency’s staff at a sending celebration.
In his charge to the missionaries, Morton talked about the New Testament duo of Mary, who sat in the presence of Jesus worshipping, and her sister Martha, who was “distracted by many tasks” as she prepared a meal for Jesus and His disciples.
“Somebody’s got to pay the bills, do the work, clean the house, take care of the job, get through the car line and educate the children,” Morton said. “Somebody’s got to carry the gospel to the hard places and fund it and strategically plan for it. Somebody’s got to teach evangelism and do hospitality so that we might have inroads in our community. Work is valuable. But work that distracts us from intimacy with Jesus is not good, even if it’s church work, even if it’s ministry work.”
Morton said Americans are addicted to busyness and they treat it like a badge of honor. He reminded the new missionaries that their primary calling “is not activity, but intimacy.”
“Martha, Martha, why are you worried about that meal? Don’t you know this is the One who turned the water into wine at a wedding in Cana? Martha, why are you worried about that meal? Don’t you know this is the one who took the loaves and the fishes and fed 5,000 plus their families? Martha, Martha, why are you worried about all of that? Don’t you know this is the one who’s preparing a glorious supper at a big, big table around the throne of God where every nation, tribe and tongue will worship and feast as they declare eternally that Christ is Lord over all? Martha, Martha why are you worried about many things when one thing matters most?”
IMB President Paul Chitwood said the crowd had gathered for sending service because the world has a big problem – lostness.
“We’ve come together because we know there’s a solution that problem,” he said. “That solution is the gospel.”
The next IMB Sending Celebration will be Nov. 13, 2022, in conjunction with the Georgia Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Augusta, Georgia.
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