Psalm 40:8 “I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.”
When you think of a missionary, what comes to mind? Traveling into the remote forests of the Amazon? Establishing a church in a small village in Africa or in the mountains of Tibet?
When I was a kid I always loved hearing the missionary stories of living in some secluded place in the world and testifying of the miracles of God working among them.
Today, missions has taken many different paths and during a time of so many uncertainties, the challenges have only increased. It seems every nation has been affected by hysteria, and regardless of your position, the difficulty has only amplified in very poor countries.
The need for food, clothing, and shelter has grown among people groups already struggling to survive. It seems, no matter how hard we try, there appears another large community of people in crisis.
I know we can’t help everyone, and praise God He doesn’t lay that on our shoulders. He is more than capable of caring for all who call upon His name. With all the need in the world, the sense of inadequacy can be overwhelming, but is this really what our concern should be?
What is our purpose as a people of God?
The role of the missionary has been as complex as the people they are called to serve. From flying into remote jungles of the Amazon to trekking into the far reaches of China, missionaries have carried the gospel faithfully for thousands of years.
Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
The mandate of the missionary started with One Man….Jesus. Not just any ordinary man, He was God in the flesh. Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law which was death. The expectation now is if we will follow in His footsteps.
For us, our journey starts with death and proceeds into life.
1 Peter 2:24 “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.”
When the old nature begins to die, the new nature begins to manifest in the life of a believer. Our old nature was characterized by darkness, blindness, and death——our new nature is revealed in light, life, and holiness.
Once we have been transformed by the Spirit of God, the journey of the life in Christ begins. Our minds that were set upon the world are now set on the things from above. God’s interests become our interests, His passion is now our passion, His love is manifest by His Spirit in us. The closer we align with His will, the more we see and experience His glory.
God’s Heart is characterized by Love
Romans 5:5 “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
How is God’s love exhibited in our world?
We can see the way God loved us while we were yet sinners. This same love He has for us is the same love He wants to reveal through us.
1 John 4:12 “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”
The process of being perfected starts with loving others. Perfection comes by practicing. Practicing comes by way of obedience. Obedience to the Spirit of God is how we follow. Following is always in accordance with the Word of God.
If you think God is leading you down a particular path, a quick check to see if your listening to God correctly is to hold it up to the standard of God’s Word. If you don’t know or understand God’s Word——find a mature follower of Christ who can lead you in the Word. This is part of the process of discipleship….rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
*As you love those around you, your love expands to those farther away….
Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
When God calls you, don’t delay.
The missionaries mandate is to go into all the world and preach the gospel. How do we get opportunities to share the gospel effectively?
Sometimes it’s feeding the hungry, providing shelter, digging a well, or providing health care. If people’s needs are the priority, we might have to alleviate the need to open the door to new life.
How do we know where to serve?
We look to the Savior as our model of serving.
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
What is the goal of the missionary?
It’s easy to look at feeding of the hungry, giving clothes, shelter, medicine, or any myriad of ways to open the door to sharing the gospel. These are all functions of a missionary and for those who are discerning of a culture and its people, the effectiveness is relative to the willingness of the missionary to conform to a culture and not expect the culture to conform to them.
The goal of a missionary is to do the will of our Father.
God’s will may look completely different than our expectation. We may think we will do this or that for God, and He leads us to serve in a seemingly menial task. Whatever God’s will is for us will be perfect, the task is only as menial as we make it. It is God who ultimately calls the sinner to repentance, He is the One who imparts His Grace, He is the one that fills them with His Spirit, He will be the One who leads them on as a missionary to the people, and He will be the One who calls us home.
You may ask…”Well then, what is our responsibility?” If God does it all, why does He need us at all?
We are to represent Christ to the world. We are called to be Salt and Light in a lifeless and Hopeless world. We are called to preach the gospel, visit the sick, give a cup of cold water to the thirsty, or clothe those with nothing. Ultimately, we love others the way God has loved us.
What’s surprising about all of this is the absolute joy that comes with being found obedient. The joy God gives in serving becomes the strength that sustains and drives us to press on.
2 Corinthians 12:9 “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
If you don’t think you are up to the task, don’t fear, God fully knows your capabilities. This is the good news, you don’t have to be special, you just need to be willing. His power is all you need. Are you poor, uneducated, or weak? Then you are perfect for the task!!
You are the man or woman He needs to fulfill His plans in this world….so just trust Him and discover for yourself the goodness of God in service.