Set Apart for the Work at Hand

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs.Matt is one of the leaders at St Mary’s, married to Pip and oversees the pastoral life of the church.


Pip and I went to Vietnam last summer which is a predominately Buddhist country. Pretty much every shop/restaurant/hotel/whatever has a little shrine where people would leave offerings (money, Oreos, photocopies of playstation games etc.)  At the end of our trip we went to a place called Sapa which is a fascinating little mountain town in North-West Vietnam. It’s really high in the mountains, either above or in the clouds. And living among the paddy fields are a number of different tribes who don’t really see themselves as Vietnamese but as part of their individual tribe.

Each of these tribes had their own language or dialect and couldn’t communicate with people from the surrounding tribes, even if they were just a mile down the road. If they needed to speak to one another, those who had learned American-English from the tourists translated for them. It was fascinating.

This was one of the most remote and alien places I had ever been.

We were trekking through the mountains for a couple of days and on the second day we heard music being that was clearly being blasted out of some speakers in the distance. We continued walking in the direction the sound until we recognised the tune – it was the old hymn How Great Thou Art. We eventually reached this little building where the noise was coming from and it was crammed full of people praising God. It was an amazing sight. Up in the mountains, above the clouds, among tribes that can’t communicate with one another in their own languages – all are brought together in unity to worship Jesus.

It made me think about the mission set out before the disciples – to some extent the mission has already happened. The very ends of the earth are being reached with the saving love of Jesus. Christians whose lives have been turned upside down by the message of the cross and the empty grave have gone to the far flung corners of the earth proclaiming the truth that Jesus is alive!

But we know that isn’t the full story. We live in a post-Christian country, many of us have friends and family who don’t know Jesus. It’s becoming increasingly common to meet people who have never even set foot inside a church.

So what are we to do with this call to be God’s witnesses?

Well I don’t think anything has changed – we remain dependant on the Holy Spirit to lead us.
Pray this morning for the Holy Spirit to speak to you about who you can witness to the saving love of God. Ask God to reveal people who you are uniquely positioned to reach. And finally ask to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and courage to go.

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