By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
TOWSON, Md.—Larry Steen, senior pastor of Westminster Church, in Westminster, Md., asked God to enlarge his missionary heart in the same way that God enlarged the Apostle Paul’s missionary heart.
Steen was a keynote speaker for the Tuesday morning session of the Nov. 8-10 annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware in Towson, Md.
“Not enlarge my heart to go overseas to Africa; enlarge my heart as a pastor to sense that every aspect of my life is mission for Jesus Christ—and that mission is in every aspect of my life,” he said.
Calling the Apostle Paul “perhaps the greatest missionary of all time,” Steen noted how Paul viewed the “priestly duty of proclaiming the Gospel” in Romans 15-16.
“His task was truly sacred,” Steen said, noting that Paul’s dirty robes and sandals, marred by beatings, humiliation, and the like was as a “holy garment” before the Lord.
“Paul viewed what he did everyday as an act of worship,” he said. “Don’t think what you are doing is merely church work; it is an act of worship.”
Steen pointed out that Paul gave all the glory back to God, noting in particular three things that gave God glory: the Gentiles came to belief (“That’s like the people of Iraq and Afghanistan coming to Christ,” Steen said.); signs and miracles accompanied his ministry; and Paul preached the entire span between Jerusalem and what is now known as the former Yugoslavia.
“Paul takes no credit,” Steen shared. “It’s not about us. It’s about God.”
Moreover, Paul had a “God-sized dream.” The apostle wanted to share the Gospel in Spain, which was considered the “end of the world” from the Roman Empire’s perspective.
“His dream was to go some place where he’d never gone before,” Steen said, noting that the Scripture doesn’t show whether Paul made it or not.
Noting that God-sized visions differ from person to person, Steen said, “You may have not gone to the final destination but you were faithful on the journey, and it’s the journey that counts.”
He added, “Do one thing. Step beyond the vision you have today and take one step into the darkness where you don’t know what God is going to do.”