Do You Want to Serve King Jesus More Fully?
Here’s My Charge to You
[Editor’s Note: Last week David Bryant shared in a commissioning event for a recent seminary graduate entering Christian ministry. Here’s the charge he gave to this eager Jesus follower. It is precisely, word for word, what David would want to say to ANYONE who intends to give themselves to any kind of ministry for Christ. If that includes YOU then this charge is for you too—whether you serve Jesus in the marketplace, on a campus, around your neighborhood, or “to the ends of the earth.”]
I have a tale to tell you that’s remarkable but true—a narrative that has inspired generations given over to the work of Christ.
It also is the backstory of what I would specifically say to you, how I would charge you, if I were with you right now—to give you a larger hope about the powerful experiences awaiting you as you serve God’s Son.
This amazing drama involves an ordinary young Englishman bi-vocationally employed as a school teacher and a shoemaker, who also was a Christian who enjoyed digging out facts about nations around the globe.
Finally, the day came when he actually published a book tabulating his findings—focused specifically on how many people worldwide still needed to hear about Christ.
This one effort changed the course of history!
His name? William Carey.
I report his journey to you because it gives all of us every reason to serve Christ with similar expectations regarding how our Savior will work through our lives.
The Impact of One Life Passionate for Christ
As a result of both his report and his radical example, churches in his country launched thousands of Christ’s servants in the coming decades into many nations to spread the gospel.
This young man settled down in Calcutta, India, and invested the next 40 years of his life to spread the truth about the Lord Jesus to Hindu peoples.
William Carey experienced one of the most phenomenal breakthroughs for Christ’s kingdom in the growth of the Christian movement. Despite much suffering, including the loss of his children to disease, this young “revolutionary” accomplished what seemed impossible to those who watched.
Consider his legacy:
- He founded Serampore College outside Calcutta (still active today)
- He fought for laws to be passed against the Hindu custom of burning widows on their husband’s funeral pyres and sacrificing infants to the “gods”
- He cataloged hundreds of plant species that had never been studied before
- He raised up relief works among the urban poor
- He planted dozens of new congregations of Hindus who came to Christ
- He inspired a multitude of other young people to join him in sacrificial service for Christ
- He and his team translated and published the entire Bible in six languages of India and portions of the Scriptures in 34—that’s 34!—distinct languages of Asia!
Today, as a result, William Carey is honored by the global Church as the father of the modern Protestant missionary movement.
Guess what? The Father can use you for Jesus in equally amazing ways. Here’s how I know.
Carey Was Set on Fire by One Powerful Scripture
Back while he was nailing shoes in Northampton, England, young Carey meditated on a passage full of God’s promises for every believer—promises about how God wants to multiply our labors for his Son so as to accomplish an impact all out of proportion to what any of us could ever achieve by ourselves.
The passage? Isaiah 54:1-5.
Isaiah’s vision ignited in Carey a fire for Christ to such an extent that his appeal to the church leaders in England of his day fueled a groundswell of zeal to advance Christ’s kingdom. When he published his volume of research on the unreached of earth’s peoples, he made Isaiah 54:1-5 foundational. Scripture set his statistics on fire!
Notice that Isaiah 54 flows out of the greatest Old Testament text on the redemptive work of Jesus—Isaiah 53. That’s important to highlight. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice and victory (Isaiah 53), the promises in Isaiah 54 are secured and now offered to ALL of us who belong to Jesus, to every one of us whom God calls to serve Christ’s global cause.
Ponder just the opening sentences—and try to imagine what it might look like if they were fulfilled in your life (as they were for Carey):
‘Sing, barren woman . . .
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband,’
says the Lord.
‘Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back . . .
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities.
Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame . . .
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.’
That’s the vision that propelled the “cobbler of Calcutta” to pour out his life to spread the name and fame of Jesus!
Now its promises come around to you. What will you do with them?
Let’s start with this:
My Charge to You
and Every Servant of King Jesus
[based, in principle, on the promises Isaiah 54:1-5]
As I mentioned at the beginning, last week I gave the very same charge you see below to a Jesus follower ready to head into new territory to fulfill Christ’s call on his life. Based on Isaiah 54:1‑5, this charge reflects what William Carey (or Isaiah, even!) might have said to him.
Or, to you.
For sure, it’s what I would speak over you if you were to invite me to help officially commission you into some new facet of Kingdom ministries. That being so, here’s what I suggest:
Try to imagine me standing right beside you, speaking this charge to you in Jesus’ name. In fact, read it out loud—even if you’re alone in a room—to make it feel more like someone is giving it to you personally.
I’m firmly convinced of this: It is so faithful to the principles and promises of Isaiah 54 that it captures what Jesus himself might to say to you if he were standing before you in my place—which, actually, he is!
Make it your own! Let it form a new beginning for you as you continue to follow and serve the Son of God more fully—the one who is supreme and working through you every step of the way. Embrace its truths as the Father’s vision for you, for how you are to focus the rest of your life living for Jesus.
Before the Lamb upon the Throne, I charge you:
Sing, oh child of God! Burst forth into song! Shout for joy!
Through your ministry God is about to give birth to wonders you have never seen before.
You will become a parent to a host of spiritual children you did not produce.
Be zealous for the hope of your calling to proclaim Christ’s kingdom.
Rise up to greet what lies just ahead of you!
Expand your vision and your prayers and your preaching, starting right now.
Push your expectations outward, like extending the curtains of a tent to make room for new inhabitants.
Drive your faith deeper and deeper into God’s Word, like securing tent pegs to keep it sturdy and standing as it fills with redeemed lives Heaven sends your way.
I charge you:
In all your ministry whatever you do, do it with your whole heart.
Be unwavering in your faithfulness to God’s purposes for you today.
Get ready for new dimensions of God’s purposes for you tomorrow because miracles will flow over you out of God’s amazing grace, as you pursue the glory of God’s amazing Son.
Go forth,full of great expectations!
You are being sent to equip a company of Christ’s followers to bring the riches of Christ’s fullness into desolate lives and places.
Do not be afraid! You will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace.You will not be humiliated.
Your sovereign Savior guarantees you will bear much fruit as you abide in him who is Lord of the harvest that’s coming.
And so it is, I charge you:
Serve with boldness the head of the Church and Redeemer of the world—who is supreme and active and victorious among the nations—knowing the Spirit of God empowers every work for Jesus.
Therefore, as you shepherd God’s people make much of Jesus:
Enlarge for them Jesus’ claim.
Spread among them Jesus’ fame.
Champion before them Jesus’ reign.
Increase through them Jesus’ gain.
Exult with them in Jesus’ name.
Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—
world without end. Amen.
William Carey’s famous life motto was simply: “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” To which I add: “Pray great things to God.”
So now—filled with great expectations, you too go forth to expect, pray, and attempt great things for your reigning Savior, with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength!
About the Author
Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and to Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com.