Speaker Challenges Students’ Future Plans

“What do you hope or dream for your life?” OBU students were asked during the weekly chapel service Wednesday, Nov. 17. The speaker, a Southern Baptist representative working with East Asian peoples, challenged the students’ preconceived ideas of what their futures might hold.

Unidentified for the safety of the people with whom she works, the speaker asked the students to think about where they see themselves in five years, 10 years, 20 years or even 30 years from now. She suggested many of them probably expect to find a job in their field of study, find a spouse, start a family and buy a home.

“Are you willing to let go of your dreams and allow God to transform them into His plan?” she asked.

Noting many OBU students would probably automatically answer in the affirmative, she challenged their notions of following God. She asked if they would be willing to follow God’s plan if it includes moving to Africa to live in a hut among the national people, carrying water a long distance each day and grinding grain for food each day. She asked if students would be willing to do anything possible to share the Gospel message with an unreached people group, a population segment that has had no access to the Bible.

She asked if students would follow God’s plan if it was to live in an inner city in the United States, ministering to drug addicts, gang members and prostitutes. She asked if they would follow God’s plan if it included living somewhere they must risk their lives to share the Gospel.

Reading from Philippians 3:7-8, she quoted, “But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ.”

The Apostle Paul learned that all the things he thought were important were rubbish compared to knowing Christ, the speaker said. She shared stories of two people  - a young man and an older woman  - who also put aside personal gain to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

After many years of personal struggle, and considered a failure by his society’s standards, the young man began going into rural areas of his country to tell people about Jesus Christ. He traveled to areas with no churches and started congregations, and he helped struggling churches grow. Personally struggling financially, he supported his retired parents and an out-of-work brother. Eventually, the young man was offered a job in a five-star hotel, managing the sports center. The job would afford him financial security and a better social status. However, he realized if he took the job he would not have time to go to the villages to minister. He turned down the job, but in the past year he led 60 people to personal faith in Jesus and started six churches.

The woman was raised by missionaries in her country in the early part of the 20th century. When a Communist government threatened a takeover, the woman was provided an opportunity  - a visa and passage on a ship  - to leave her country and travel to the United States. But the woman declined, noting God had called her to take the Gospel into the inner areas of her country. Despite being persecuted through the years, the woman, now in her 90s, is still in her country sharing the story of Jesus Christ with her people.

“We in America often blur the lines of what is necessity and what is luxury,” the speaker said, noting a person’s purpose in life alters their perception of their surroundings. “We take for granted many things that people in other countries don’t even have access to.”

The speaker referred to C.S. Lewis’ book, “Mere Christianity,” which is the basis for this year’s chapel theme, “A Return to the Simplicity of the Gospel.” She said Lewis teaches that to impact the world, a person must learn to love their neighbor. To love a neighbor, a person must learn to love God. To love God, a person must obey Him.

She challenged the students to choose to obey God.