By Dick Brogden
Isaiah 6 has long been a favorite text for missions mobilizers. Many a man and woman have knelt at an altar and made that life defining ask: “Here am I! Send me.” We asked, little knowing what we were asking for.
Unfortunately, most missionary sermons and appeals end with verse 8 (“Here I am, send me”) rather than starting there. The text in quick progression goes on to say: Go talk to people who won’t hear you; go speak to a people who won’t understand you (vv. 9-10); go on this fruitless errand until all things are laid waste and desolate (v. 11); and go and face a forsaken, desolate future (v. 12).
The “here am I, send me” ask is a request from God to fail 90 percent of the time. Isaiah 6:13 gives the hope that a tithe will survive and that the tree once cut down will leave a stump that can one day sprout again. If a tithe is what remains, that means 90 percent was lost. Our culture has a very demanding view of success. Who in our schools celebrates a 10 percent success rate, or what sports fans praise teams that lose 90 percent of their games?
In the competitive war for souls, let us be clear that when we ask God to send us, we ask Him to send us to contexts where if we win 10 percent of the people to whom we witness, we have done awesome. Let us discard our ridiculous expectations without losing outrageous faith. Let us remember that wide is the way to destruction and narrow the path to life without diminished joy when one sinner repents.
Let us go back to the altar and cry again with tears: “Here am I, send me!” But this time with the sober Biblical expectation that 90 percent of the people we share Christ with will reject us and the great heavenly joy is that a tithe is prophesied, that though trees will be cut down, there will be life that springs out of the stump.
Biblical reality does not discourage; it propels us in hope to the task. Out there ready to be found, out there waiting to be reached, out there longing to be rescued are a tithe of my assignment. Lord, that’s awesome! Send me. I ask for the strength to press through all the rejection to find the ones You have promised shall be saved.