What is your Life’s Assignment?
What, where, and to whom are you assigned?
God is uniquely forming a “life assignment” within you! This means that our existence is becoming a living message to others! The things that have made-up your life: the various circumstances; the nagging problems; the victories; those things which made you proud; those things which have greatly humbled you; those things which have made you weep; and those things which have exhilarated you. These elements are the building blocks that God uses to shape your “life assignment!”
In this bible study we will examine just a few poignant stories from the life of Sammy Tippit. You probably wonder, “Who is Sammy Tippit?” For thirty-five years he has headed a worldwide ministry that takes the message of Jesus Christ into those parts of the earth where Jesus is unwelcome! There is not a great deal of glory that would naturally come to Sammy. This is because he has chosen to go into the remote places of the earth. He has taken the message of Jesus into Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, China, Romania, Russia, and Asia. In most of these places Christ’s message is against the law and placed him in jeopardy! What is it that so inspires a man to be unafraid of danger?
He claims the book “The Man That God Uses,” written by Oswald J. Smith, as the foremost inspiration in his life! That book is Sammy’s spiritual motivation. Based upon that title, it should not be surprising for us to learn that Sammy claims that his great passion in life has been to become a man that God uses!
Let’s begin with just a few of the stories that have shaped the life of Sammy Tippit: During the turbulent 1960’s he was merely a young man with an eye on becoming someone of great importance. His family history was not overflowing with those who became the wise and the educated; yet, he nurtured a dream of becoming an attorney and political leader. His initial ambition as a young man was to become an orator; the culmination of his high aspiration reached an apex, as he “happened” to participate in an oratorical competition sponsored by the United Nations.
Although he almost certainly would make no such claim, Sammy was not an ordinary young man. He realized quickly that in order to become the victor and be recognized as the oratorical champion he would have to do something that would set him apart from the typical contestant. Indeed, Sammy rose to the occasion as he articulated the soaring goals of the United Nations in five different languages and ran away with the honors.
Sammy’s life was now set! It was already established that he could contend alongside the great ones; that he could successfully compete on an international level. Sammy was a student with real potential on the campus of Louisiana State University (LSU). However, not everything in his life was ideal; soon after the United Nations competition he believed that his girlfriend was pregnant. This meant that his educational opportunities would certainly be diminished if not entirely lost. These weighty circumstances along with others that we cannot understand nor should we speculate upon had driven Sammy to the point where he was contemplating suicide. Thankfully, Jesus established communication with Sammy during the darkest of those days. Jesus brought Sammy to repentance during a local evangelistic campaign. Sammy knew nothing of Christianity; he only knew that God had forgiven his sin. That concept sparked a flame within. He was so affected that he became absorbed with the personal need to share his testimony with others.
During that same period Sammy experienced an unfamiliar connection with an unknown personal influence that began to shape the events of his life. He learned that a very popular Christian orator was scheduled to speak at the Houston Astrodome. Since his earlier life had nothing to do with Christianity, he had never become familiar with the name, Billy Graham. However, Sammy so respected the art of oratory and since he had recently acquired a newfound desire to share Jesus with others he decided to attend the Billy Graham Crusade. He figured that he could learn about the world of Christian evangelism.
As the crusade progressed, Sammy grew indifferent by the oratory skills displayed by Billy Graham. He thought to himself, “This is the great Christian orator? Mr. Graham is certainly good; but he is nowhere great.” As Billy Graham came near the conclusion of his message Sammy recognized that Billy was getting ready to make an invitation. Sammy thought to himself, “Oh Lord, please don’t let him be embarrassed; let his message affect at least a few of the people.” To Sammy’s great surprise thousands of people made their way toward Billy Graham. Sammy thought, “Wow, if he can get this many people to come forward, I will certainly affect millions!”
Not long thereafter Sammy participated in a youth evangelistic campaign. He carefully crafted into his message every oratory talent with which he had become skilled. The words he used flowed as if from a natural mountain stream, he used the proper gesture to highlight every crucial expression; his voice reverberated the appropriate tenor through naturally changing tones. His message was interleaved with emotion! Sammy utilized every aspect of his oratory training; yet, not one individual responded to his invitation! What could have gone wrong?
Many years later, long after Sammy learned the difficult lesson that prayer is the most important aspect of his evangelism, Sammy conducted an evangelistic campaign in Beltsie, Moldova. This was right in the heart of the former Soviet Union and happened to be the earliest Christian evangelistic campaign permitted in that particular region. The people attended by the thousands. However, since the communist party was certainly in attendance, the people in the assembly were extremely cautious and therefore reluctant to make any outward expression of their faith. As soon as Sammy had given his invitation for Jesus Christ there was absolutely no movement from the crowd! Sammy bowed his head and asked Jesus, “Okay, Lord, what am I supposed to do now?” The Lord directed him to press on! However, after Sammy bid a second time, still no one came! With his head bowed low, Sammy asked the Lord for His assistance once again; at long last one poor little peasant lady, a courageous babushka with a bouquet of flowers in her hand came toward Sammy. She gave him the flowers as she knelt down and cried out to Jesus Christ to become her Lord! The daring fearless act of this one little peasant lady embolden the crowd and by the time the evening concluded over five hundred subjugated prisoners had broken the bonds of fear and given their hearts to the Lord Jesus!
When Sammy returned home to San Antonio, one of the women who was part of his wife’s prayer group asked Sammy to take a look at her private prayer journal. She had recorded several times over three weeks that she had been persistently led by the Lord to pray for “one poor little peasant lady,” in Moldova!
Through countless inhospitable conditions such as taking the gospel of Jesus into the former Soviet Union, Sammy discovered and rediscovered that God Almighty always supplied an overflowing abundance of His enabling grace. Prior to the fall of communism Sammy met and led a student at the University of Leningrad to Jesus. The young man told him an amazing story regarding the all-encompassing influence that atheism had held over his life; the student expressed that only a few weeks prior he had made a genuine request of God as he gazed into the heavens and realized that there must be a Creator! He asked of God in that moment of the miraculous, “God, if you are real, will you please reveal yourself to me.” He told Sammy, “God answered my prayer by sending you here! Now, will you tell my friends about Jesus, too.”
This God-inspired association spawned an unexpected evangelistic meeting of nearly one thousand people. However, a result of that spontaneous assemblage resulted in Sammy’s arrest. As a result, he was commanded to write out a confession for his crime. Sammy immediately declared that he had done nothing wrong. His captors told him that he was being held for the propagation of drugs. Sammy voiced his protest that as a Christian he could not possibly have been involved in narcotics. The police informed him that religion was the opiate of the people and that Sammy was required to write out a confession concerning his criminal activity. Sammy took the pen and paper and began to write something akin to the following:
My crime begins with the day that I was introduced to Jesus Christ. He was, is, and always will be God. But one day He left his throne in glory and clothed Himself in human flesh. And He came and walked and lived a holy sinless, perfect life. And He lived as no other person ever lived and loved as no other has ever loved. And then He died on a cross to take the punishment for the sins of all of humanity. He was buried in a borrowed tomb and three days later He arose from the grave and He ascended to the right hand of His father in heaven; but before He did, He told those who would believed in Him that He would send His spirit to live in them and that they were to go and proclaim His name to all of the nations of the world.
One day I heard this message and gave my heart to Jesus Christ. And today I want you to know, whoever is reading this confession, if you would like to know him you can pray the following prayer . . .
Altogether, Sammy was held for three days; he maintains that the person who wrote that confession was not the normal individual living in his body! Sammy claims to have received divine empowering ability that led him to react as he did!
It seemed so many years ago, Sammy was the first person in his family to attend college; he was supposed to become an attorney and then move into politics. He was expected to become someone powerful and therefore make his family proud. But on one special day he met the savior! Jesus actually met him even as he was determined to commit suicide! Nobody even knew about his problems or that he was in turmoil. But Jesus forgave and changed Sammy’s heart. As a result, Sammy wanted to devote his life to telling others.
Right after his conversion, Sammy eagerly went to his mother with the story of his encounter with Jesus; however, she responded in an unforeseen fashion, “I will never become a Christian. Don’t ever bring that religion thing up to me again! I don’t ever want to hear you talk to me about God again.”
What did Sammy do when he could not talk to his mother about God? He talked to God about his mother. In those days LSU had a special place of meeting called, “free speech alley;” it was a forum where the students could freely communicate whatever they wanted to express. Sammy and his Christian friends produced a revival in “free speech alley,” where there proclaimed Jesus. The next day in the LSU, “Daily Reveille” the headline read, “Students Hold Revival in Free Speech Alley.” The campus newspaper was amazingly accurate in their reporting of the event; Sammy was excited that they faithfully reported the revival and thereby proclaimed the gospel of Jesus in their newspaper!
One night Sammy came home from a date and his mother took out the LSU, “Daily Reveille” and told Sammy, “You have embarrassed the Tippit name!” She took out a belt on which she had previously tied a knot around the buckle. She began to beat Sammy into the street as she told him, “Don’t you ever come into this house again.” She locked the door behind her as and turned her back on her own child. In a moment Sammy’s life had changed forever! It was the first time that he experienced an unfamiliar callous nature and the strange rigid texture of his own mother’s hand; still, he rested securely in the loving hands of Jesus! Sammy loved and was devoted to his mother; but he loved Jesus more! Nevertheless, deep in his heart he experienced an unspoken thirst; it was an uncertain dehydration that could not be quenched.
Sammy ceaselessly prayed for his mother for twenty years. Miraculously, she called him one day and he led her to the Lord while on the telephone. After her conversion, she financially, prayerfully and lovingly supported his ministry for the last ten years of her life!
Throughout his ministry, Sammy regularly acknowledged that there was an undeniable, yet indefinable bond that existed between him and the people to whom he had been sent. At times he was preoccupied with the depth of that awareness; he shared a tangible bond with those to whom he ministered and he could feel it, even though he did not completely understand it.
One day Sammy was asked to join in an underground baptism involving an eighteen-year-old Muslim girl. Individuals who were naturally curious about her decision asked, “What are you going to do when your family rejects you? What will you do when your mother and father put you out of your home?” She replied, “Two nights before I came to Christ, I tried to kill myself. I slit my wrist and didn’t get the job done. A Christian friend came to me and told me about Jesus and brought me to the Church and I heard about the Savior and He came into my heart and He forgave my sins. That night I was going to kill myself; what can they do to me?”
As Sammy’s unrelenting sponge dried heart gradually absorbed the unknown fluids released by her bittersweet words, at long last he began to identify with the bond that he shared with those to whom he was sent. He realized that he didn’t even have to tell them about what was in his heart; the people somehow recognized that he understood their plight. God had been building a platform in Sammy’s heart in order for him to reach demoralized people. God established that precious life message in Sammy.
In the same fashion, God is building a life message or a life assignment within you too! God will forge your metal. You have already entered into His boiling caldron; He will melt down the metal of your life as he removes whatever is impure. Next, He will mold you as he sculpts your life’s assignment. Finally He will perfect your heart, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chron 16:9).
We all have our own life’s story. God has given each of us gifts that we may use. Only you know the things that have taken place in your own life. God is working within you to make those events into a life’s assignment! We all need to examine our own personal life. Through that life study we can learn to map-out the meaning of the events that have shaped us. We can learn how those events correspond-to and fit-in with the things that are currently operating in our lives. This activity will help us map-out our future.
So we return to the concept of Sammy’s inspiration; who is “The Man That God Uses?” We have just read, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chron 16:9). We must be coworkers with God in the development of a perfect heart.
At a recent writers conference, Sammy shared the following five aspects of those whom God selects for His use:
(1) God uses those who learn to depend completely upon Him
a. They develop the act of simple dependence upon God
b. They assert, “Lord, this is too big for me; I need your enabling help!”
(2) God uses those who are people of prayer
a. They pray continually and without ceasing
b. God’s word and His kingdom are continually on their minds
(3) God uses those who learn to exercise their own unique skills and abilities
a. They realize that they are unique from all others
b. They know that they are not the same as others
c. They do not try to compete with other Christians
(4) God uses those who continue over a long period of time to abound in what He has given them to perform
a. They persevere
b. They are patient
(5) God uses those who have discovered their life’s message, their life’s assignment
Notice Sammy’s fifth aspect! “Coincidently,” for several months I have been seeking the Lord’s help in a personal quandary, “How do I discover my Life’s Assignment?” Over more than a year, I have learned many important and profound things. Now that I have recently been inspired by Sammy’s testimony in that regard, I openly share with you those things that I have learned. The outline that follows is intended to help you answer the question, “How do I discover my Life’s Assignment?” Don’t rush an answer!
i. Anger is passion requiring an appropriate focus;
· Moses was obviously destined to become a deliverer. Out of his anger he was compelled to deliver his downtrodden kin. However, Moses inappropriately focused his anger;
ii. Anger is a clue to the problem you were created solve;
· What injustice or mistreatment or ignorance so stirs you up?
iii. Realize that things remain status quo until somebody gets mad:
· (1) Rosa Parks;
· (2) MADD;
· (3) John Walsh – America’s Most Wanted
i. eyes – see;
ii. hands – reach;
iii. minds – thinks;
iv. mouths – speaks;
v. ears – hear;
i. A tailor notices poorly made clothes;
ii. A mechanic hears that strange sound in the engine;
iii. An attorney immediately notices the rights of an individual;
i. Garbage man solves a 10/hour problem;
ii. An attorney solves a 150/hour problem;
i. It is a problem that is usually very close to you!
i. Joseph solved the problems of the baker and the butler; only then did he solve the pharaoh’s problem!
i. On the third day of creation (the blessed day) the whole concept of seed first appeared, “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good” (Gen 1:11-12);
ii. We cannot see a watermelon seed’s instructions to produce watermelons; yet the assignment is unmistakably in the seed;
iii. We cannot see a tomato seed’s instructions to produces tomatoes; yet, the assignment is unmistakably in the seed;
· If my name is Benny Hinn; I’m assigned to the sick;
· If my name is Billy Graham; I’m assigned to the unsaved;
· If my name is Sammy Tippit; I’m assigned where Jesus is unwelcome;
· The desires of our heart helps us determine our assignment, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Ps 37:4);
i. Money does not follow me; instead,
ii. Money awaits me at the place of obedience to my assignment;
iii. Money/provision is anywhere/everywhere God sends you:
· Elijah was told to go to the brook, but it dried up one day, it was time for Elijah to move on – yet, he remained in his assignment;
· God uses loss as a signpost that God wants us to move on;
i. Henry Ford;
ii. Wright Brothers;
i. Ruth had to leave Moab;
ii. Abraham had to leave his kin in Babylon;
i. I cannot scorn Benny Hinn and Oral Roberts and expect prayers for health to be heard;
ii. I cannot make fun of Warren Buffet and expect wealth in my life;
i. Jesus went home with Zeccheaus but he never went home with the Pharisees;
i. A rich child without respect will become poor;
ii. A poor man through respect can become rich;
i. Jesus questioned who was His mother and brother, “whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt 12:50);
i. I don’t even think about it anymore; when I started it was discipline but today it is just a habit;
ii. Men don’t decide their future they decide their habits and their habits are the vehicle into their future – the story of Mary Kay;
i. Race car drivers are told never to look at the wall
i. You need a dream wall or a dream room
ii. Read autobiographies of people you respect – “Don’t Give-up Your Dream,” by Dexter Yeager is an outstanding book
iii. Remember that Sammy Tippit focused on the book by Oswald J. Smith, “The Man That God uses”
iv. keep your dream in front of you, your heart will create the path to your dream, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov 4:23)
v. Jesus endured the cross, “for the joy that was set before him”(Heb 12:2)
i. Memory ––––––– replays the past;
ii. Imagination –––– pre-plays the future;
i. David & Bathsheba;
ii. A bowl of ice cream or another dessert.
i. If I do something for another expecting them to repay; I am limited by that person;
ii. If I do something for another expecting only God to repay; I am limited only by God.
The preaching of the Gospel to others has been Sammy’s lifetime message; it has become his life’s assignment. In the same fashion, God has been developing a lifetime message in you! Success is simply doing what God has called you to do and just walking and living a life in obedience to God’s calling! God has been building your lifetime assignment. We are not supposed to waste those precious events that take place in our lives. God will minister to others through our very lives. Any greatness that we may experience will only come from finding and fulfilling our life’s assignment. Our lifetime message will eventually be communicated to others. However, my goal is not how may people have read my books or heard my messages; rather, that I have been true and faithful to the life assignment that God has given to me, and that I may hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things” (Matt 25:23).
Your lifetime assignment began in you long before you became a Christian. It was formed in you before you were even conceived, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee” (Jer 1:5).
Do you know your assignment from God?
If you cannot tell me what your assignment is in one sentence or phrase it is because you don’t yet know what it is! (Do not be alarmed if you are in this category; you just haven’t discovered your life assignment yet!). That means nobody else knows your assignment and that no one is pursuing you for the special gift that you contain. Therefore, you are living life unrewarded for that unique difference inside of you. Obviously, it is important for all of us to discover our life’s assignment! Understanding our life’s assignment is the only way that we can comprehend the events that God has permitted in our lives! Study and reflect on your life, it holds the secrets to your life’s assignment! You might remember from the Bible Study entitled, “Worshipping in the Temple of God;” (If you do not have that study, you can obtain a copy form the World Wide Web at: http://www.rivkah.org) that God revealed Himself progressively to mankind. Remember that it was not until several years into his ministry when Sammy heard the testimony of the eighteen year old muslim girl that he clearly understood his life’s assignment! In like fashion, this same type of unfolding of our life’s assignment is also revealed in a progressive nature!
Seek, find, and fulfill your life’s assignment!
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