In 1971 I was invited to spend one month in Singapore at a new institute that had been started by John Haggai. It was still in the formative stages then—a place where Asian church leaders would be trained and challenged to witness for Christ.
Haggai was full of stories. In them all, Christians were overcomers and giants—men and women who received a vision from God and refused to let go of it. Diligence to your calling was a virtue to be highly prized.
Haggai was the first person who made me believe that nothing is impossible with God. And in Haggai I found a man who refused to accept impossibilities. The normal boundaries others accepted didn’t exist for him. He saw everything in global terms and from God’s perspective, refusing to accept sin. If the world was not evangelized, why not? If people were hungry, what could we do about it? Haggai refused to accept the world as it was. And I discovered that he was willing to accept personal responsibility to become an agent of change.
Toward the end of my month at the institute, John Haggai challenged me into the most painful introspection I have ever experienced. I know now it implanted a restlessness in me that would last for years, eventually causing me to leave India to search abroad for God’s ultimate will in my life.
Haggai’s challenge seemed simple at first. He wanted me to go to my room and write down—in one sentence—the single most important thing I was going to do with the rest of my life. He stipulated that it could not be self-centered or worldly in nature. And one more thing—it had to bring glory to God.
I went to my room to write that one sentence. But the paper remained blank for hours and days. Disturbed that I might not be reaching my full potential in Christ, I began at that conference to reevaluate every part of my lifestyle and ministry. I left the conference with the question still ringing in my ears, and for years I would continue to hear the words of John Haggai, “One thing . . . by God’s grace you have to do one thing.”