There’s a new album out by one of my favorite bands, Leeland, called “The Great Awakening”. The first single by the same name simply repeats the next few lines over and over again.‘One man wakes, awakens another. Second one wakes his next door brother. Three awake can rouse a town and turn the whole place upside down. Many awake will cause such a fuss it finally wakes the rest of us. One man wakes with dawn in his eyes, surely then it multiplies, surely then it multiplies.’ It’s a great song with a catchy tune and some nice “woahs” thrown in there, but I tell you about it because it has so much to do with why I’m here and with what God is doing now that He got me here.
When I was in high school, a friend of mine went on a retreat and encountered a living, saving God in Jesus Christ. God was no longer something she tolerated for an hour on Sundays, but the center of a relationship she craved everyday. This desire was so strong she couldn’t help but invite others into that same relationship with God, and I became her first target. Week after week, with persistency and courage, she invited me to come to youth group with her. And week after week, with a concentrated stubbornness, I declined.
When I finally accepted her invitation, I was going more for the free pizza than anything else, but I found something unexpected in the community there. It wasn’t just my one friend who was excited about being there. The room was filled with normal, funny people my age who were actually interested in knowing God. I had never met people like this, people so radically alive, and it began to create in my heart a ‘fuss’ over why I didn’t live like that. Until I met teens who were awake and alive in Christ, I didn’t know I was living my life as if I was asleep. I didn’t realize how purposeless my pursuit of success and praise was until I saw teens living a purposeful life for God’s glory. I had no idea what kind of joy I was missing out on in my relationships until I saw the passion of my friends living out of a relationship in Christ. Their witness itself was an invitation that awakened me to a love and hope that I had never experienced. Their yes to God multiplied in my own heart. In a big way, I owe my life in Christ to the excitement of a group of teens.
As a missionary now, I get to talk with hundreds of teens, young adults, and youth ministers about Jesus every week, but I am a missionary today because another 17-year-old girl believed enough in Jesus to extend an invitation. Since then, I’ve had the joy of inviting others, watching God turn lives upside down, and seeing the Church and His grace literally multiply before my eyes. I know I can’t stop now. The line in this song that sticks out to me the most is one man wakes with dawn in his eyes, surely then it multiplies. As a missionary, I want to live with dawn in my eyes. I want to live like I believe that the fact that Jesus died for me, but more importantly that He rose for me, makes a difference in my daily life. In Ephesians it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead and Christ will give you light.” I’m starting to realize the more I am aware of the power of the resurrection and live into that, the more His light will shine to awaken others. The more I say yes to God’s invitation to me, the more He can use me to invite others. God asked his disciples for a couple fish and some bread, and He multiplied it to feed thousands. Today He’s asking us to wake up and live fully alive for Him so He can multiply and feed others too.