SPRINGFIELD – The safest place for a ship to be is in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are made for, David Uth told Missouri Baptist pastors and lay leaders.
“You were not called, you were not anointed to preach the Gospel to play it safe. You were called to take the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth,” Uth said during his sermon to messengers at the annual meeting Oct. 27 in Springfield.
He urged them to set sail and fulfill their mission. Using Acts 27 as his text, Uth preached how the Apostle Paul set out for Rome.
“I think God puts ‘Rome’ in every one of our hearts, a place we have never been with God,” he said. “Rome is a place God calls every one of us to go.”
Uth is originally from Pine Bluff, Ark., and is a former professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He is currently the senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Orlando, Fla.
The city has been hard hit by the recession, Uth said, and earlier this year he felt God leading him to minister to the needs within the congregation. At a worship service, he asked all those who needed food, transportation or other needs to come forward. As ministers met with those in need, Uth asked members to respond to the Spirit’s prompting and step up to help their friends. As a result, more than 1,000 members helped each other and 10 cars were given away, but Uth said beforehand he had no idea how it would turn out.
“It happened because I refused to play it safe,” he said.
In answering the call, he said you can expect to encounter resistance, but that does not mean you are on the wrong path.
“Getting to Rome may not be a straight line. You have to tack back and forth,” Uth said. “The great news is even though there is resistance, there are greater resources.”
Among the resources God provides are other people, the Spirit of God and taking shelter in quiet times with the Lord.
“I don’t care how big or how strong you are, you won’t make it to Rome if you don’t take time to get out of the wind,” Uth said. “You’ve got to find some time alone with the Lord. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is get a good night’s sleep and eat right.”
Activity doesn’t make a person productive, Uth said, calling on his Arkansas roots. He noted that the most active chicken in the yard is the one that just had its head chopped off.
“If you’re in the will of God, the undercurrent of God moves you,” Uth said. “Let’s go to Rome for the glory of God.”
SUSAN MIRES/contributing writer