Calling All Christians to Persevere on the Hazardous Journey of Our Generation
By Doug Phillips, President of Vision Forum
There are three things on my heart as I write the introduction to the 2013 Vision Forum Family Catalog. First, I believe that the 21st century will prove to be the greatest testing time for the Church as a whole, and Christian families in particular, in the last five hundred years. Before us lies an unprecedented season of both hazard and opportunity. Second, I believe that most Christian families are unprepared in mind, body, and spirit for the challenges of the future. I think we have become soft, lazy, and comfortable in our modernistic culture, to our great detriment. With God's help, we must reverse this trend. Finally, it is my hope that the small offering of encouragement provided by this catalog with our theme of "The Hazardous Journey" will encourage many to take the field once again and embrace the perilous, but hopeful, adventure before us. Here is a little context:
One hundred years ago, famed Arctic explorer Ernest Shackleton issued a call for men willing to embark on a "hazardous journey" replete with danger, but offering hope of great accomplishment. Since then, the term "hazardous journeys" has become synonymous with the spirit of indefatigable endurance embraced by those who risk much to accomplish much.
But if examples of courage and endurance are praiseworthy in the context of the amazing deeds of those who do not profess to advance God's kingdom, how much more so for those who are His workmanship created for good works in Christ, commissioned to represent Him throughout the world by seeking His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
The Bible has a great deal to say both about manly "journeys" (Num. 33:2; Gen. 12:9) for the glory of God, as well as "men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 15:26) while on those journeys. In this sense, the Christian life can be likened to a hazardous journey: We are compelled to embark on a journey of epic significance, notwisthstanding innumerable dangers. The world before us presents extreme challenges, including potential death, on the one hand, and yet opportunity, redemption, and kingdom victory, on the other.
Paul understood hazardous journeys and used the word "peril" to describe the dangers of his own adventures. In 2�Cor. 11:23-28, he paints a picture of the hazardous journey when he writes of his own endurance ". . . in journeyings often, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea. . . ." Elsewhere he concludes that he is "ready not to be bound only, but also to die . . . for the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 21:13).
What then is the heart of the hazardous journey? It is the call to action to take the field, and not just any field, but one loaded with landmines. Of course, it is not that the Christian is undaunted by the challenges which this world presents, but that the devoted Christian is unwavering, persevering, and relentless in his resolve to complete the mission with honor to his God and King. He will peril much, risk much, and endure much for this cause. As we press forward into the 21st century, we need Christians to go on hazardous journeys. They may well prove to be both our legacy as well as our calling.
President and Founder of
The Vision Forum, Inc.