Missions Begins in Your Own Heart
Most think that missions is reserved for preaching the gospel in a foreign land. And while this is traditionally the view of missions, it is too narrow. Because in the heart of every man that are ‘foreign lands’ where Jesus is not yet reigning. I view the work of a missionary as spreading the grace and glory of Jesus to the four corners of the earth and to every corner of every heart. Because of this, missions must begin within the heart of the missionary.
We must journey with the Holy Spirit with the grace of the Gospel into the uncharted territories of our hearts. Then we can teach from experience, not from theory. How can I teach about what it takes to maintain daily devotional times if I myself have never known? How can I teach about the importance of confessing sins to brothers and sisters if I am not practicing this? I have tried to preach and teach the gospel to areas where Christ is not yet reigning and it is not only ineffective, but equally disheartening. Therefore, missions must begin within the heart of each believer. Our primary focus as missionaries is the primary focus of any Christian: keep seeking and savoring Jesus.
Missions is Grounded in Love
Missions is grounded in this love for Jesus. From it flows our desire for others to experience that relationship. Missions is about fulfilling 1 Corinthians 5:18-20 “who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
When this dual love for God and for people has been absent, my attempts at missions are stifled by bitterness and indifference.
Two errors result from missions without love. On one hand we tend to weld the gospel recklessly and coldly. Like a vending machine. We just do what needs to be done with no joy for those who receive the gospel and no concern for those who pass by our refreshment. At worst, we are an ugly vending machine. Not only are we heartless but we aren’t satisfied with the refreshing springs within us.
One the other hand, missions without love leads to timidity and apprehension. We are too afraid to hurt, offend, or even engage in honest discussion. We have no strength for any but the easiest of conversations. We are like a smart phone with a dead battery. Sure we can fulfill simple assignments –sit on papers, act as a mirror, but the hard work of connecting with people who are located in a completely different place is not possible. We simply don’t have the strength.
Love helps us weld the gospel as a farmer works his land. Sometimes we need to be delicate as when handling chicks or eggs. Other times we need to needs swing with all our might as when cutting up a fallen tree. The love of God gives us the flexibility to be both strong and gentle, patient and decisive, exact and broad-sowing. And love gives us the wisdom to know when each is needed.
Missionaries are Needed in Every Neighborhood and Nation.
For this reason, missionaries are needed in every neighborhood and nation. We all forget “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). We all get tired. We all get in unhealthy routines where we try to cut down trees with gentle hands or play with chicks as if swinging an axe.
If you aren’t taking the gospel to the corners of your heart and to your neighbors, take a step of faith. Talk to your neighbor or coworker. Don’t be a vending machine, be a farmer of God’s land. Engage with those around you.
If you are taking the gospel to the corners of your heart and to your neighbors, consider taking a step of faith and doing it part-time or full time. Christ’s words are no less relevant to us then they were to His disciples in Luke 10:2 “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.” We need more laborers. If you are willing but don’t know where to start, talk to your local church and then contact Global Service Network. Together they will get you to the field where God is calling you.
Written by a Missionary in a Closed Restricted Access Country