I heard it said that the task of the preacher is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I think it is obvious that the Word of God challenges us to change our lives and often pushes us out of our comfort zone.

I have been a missionary in Brazil for many years now. We enjoy living in Brazil. We like our house and our neighbors. Our kids have gone to good schools and good medical care is available. Without a doubt, the biggest drawback to living in Brazil is being so far away from friends and family whom we love so much.

I just saw my mother whom I hadn't seen in a year. Someone asked her how it has been all these years not seeing her grandchildren grow up. She confessed that it hasn't been easy.

Last Sunday at church, I met a brother whose son is also a missionary in South America. He and his wife were preparing to leave on a trip to visit their son and his family. They are excited about getting to meet a granddaughter that they have never seen.

This brother stated that lack of encouragement from parents and relatives is probably the biggest factor preventing young people from moving to the mission field. I can remember a very good friend of ours who told me that she certainly didn't want her daughter moving away to a distant land.

Was he really ready to give up his son?
The brother I met on Sunday said that when his son told him of his desire to move to South America to teach people about Jesus and plant a church, he had to see if he really believed what he said he did. This brother had always believed in missions and in the importance of preaching the gospel to those lost in sin. But was he really ready to give up his son? How would he deal with the idea of seeing his son and his grandchildren move so far away from home?

Of course God did even more than that for you and me. God did more than allow His son to leave heaven and come down to earth. It was His will that His son give up His heavenly body to become a human being. And of course, His son made the ultimate sacrifice when He died on a cross, bearing your sins and mine.

So how much are you willing to sacrifice?
What would you do if your son or daughter told you they planned to go to a foreign country to teach people about Jesus?
Would you be a stumbling block or a stepping-stone?
Would you do everything you could to stop him or her?
Or would you encourage them every step of the way?

Did anything I said make you uncomfortable? I hope so. Perhaps your day is coming. If it does, I hope you will be prepared to give up something very precious to you for the sake of God's kingdom convinced that "the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us" when we are "caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever." (Romans 8:18 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17)