Exploration and Discovery

I’ve been reading Undaunted Courage, the book by Stephen Ambrose that tells the story of Lewis and Clark and their expedition to discover unexplored western lands. It’s a fun book that I’d recommend to most anyone. We’ve come to associate the names Lewis and Clark with this great journey, and rightfully so, they are the ones who did it … they are the ones who faced this enormous task and battled all sorts of obstacles, weather, people, etc.

But behind the scenes was President Thomas Jefferson. He was a very well educated man, an inventor, prolific reader and writer, principle author of our Declaration of Independence, skilled in the disciplines of mathematics, architecture, horticulture, mechanics, zoology, and philosophy. But I suspect the argument can be made that Jefferson knew this knowledge was NOT to just keep bottled up and preserved, but rather to be used to explore and discover what was yet unknown. It was Jefferson who commissioned and empowered Lewis and Clark on their expedition out West. Jefferson was passionate about finding a waterway to connect the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and had the vision of sending a group out to discover it. Jefferson granted Lewis and Clark the authority and backing of the government to purchase whatever they needed for the journey. Not in any way to diminish the courage and spirit of these two great explorers, but to put it bluntly, there wouldn’t have been a Lewis and Clark apart from the vision, authority, commissioning, and empowerment of Thomas Jefferson. In some ways we could say they were carrying out the desire of his heart.

I’m learning more and more as I press forward in evangelism, that I am carrying out the desire of the Lord’s heart. While the Lord’s ultimate desire is for Himself to be glorified above all things, I do believe that exploration and discovery among unbelievers is right at the center of what He has called us to do as we proclaim His glory. Jesus Himself said, “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Lk 19:10). I’m learning that as I go “into the wild” I have the full authority and power of being commissioned by God Himself.

Friends, I assure you that the Lord’s full commission, backing, support, authority, resources, and desire is ours as we move toward our unbelieving friends and neighbors. This work of evangelism to which He has called us isn’t really something we must do for Him as much as it is joyfully participating in the desire of His heart! Will you join the expedition?