A cursory glance around the room showed me who was already in the chapel as I took my seat and prepared for a week of classes emphasizing missions. Off to my right was a girl whose dreams had long been burdened for ministry in Africa. On the front row, a young man had his gaze set on China. Other students around me hoped to be missionaries to South-East Asia, some country of Hispanic culture, or even to be church planters in the States. I wondered why I had no particular field to work towards, and whether the Lord would eventually show me where I was to serve. I began considering the various countries to which my colleagues had felt led by God. What would it be like to serve alongside this or that person somewhere? If the Lord chose to give me a husband someday, would our ministry be in one of the countries of the 1040 Window, towards which lay my college’s focus?
Then the teaching began. Statistics and facts were exposed, the purpose of the Great Commission was presented, the heart of God towards missions was shown with articulate passion. And I was suddenly aware, as I had never been before, of how stunted my vision was. I had been looking around me, weighing for myself the fields of others and weaving my plans into theirs—all while the Lord has already chosen a place for me much better than I or anyone else could ever choose. I realized that week, through the teaching of the missions intensive and the preaching during chapel, that I needed to look up to find my direction, not around me.
It doesn’t matter where my best friend goes—God may lead me to the same place, but He also might guide me to a completely different mission field. Just because a young man I admire has a vision for a certain country, does not mean I should prepare to go there. I ought to be preparing for anywhere the Lord of the harvest needs laborers, not limiting myself to familiar fields. There comes a day when all of us must look up for heavenly guidance, not just around us to borrow the callings of our peers.