The Great Commission found in Mathew 20:18-20, tells us to go to the world, obey God’s commands, baptize and make disciples. It’s a word for every Christian so why aren’t we seeing it happen? Or maybe we are, but our definition of a missionary is different than another. This week, the Kingdom Bloggers are discussing the questions: what is a missionary and are you a missionary by your own definition?
I grew up in an era when missionaries who went into the field, went for long-term service. They would return every few years to North America for furlough. More often than not, missionaries would come to our Sunday School hour and share stories and testimonies of their adventures with the classes. Some children may have been inspired by the adventure, but not me. I prayed to the Lord, “Please, don’t give me ‘the call’ [to be a missionary] and never, ever send me to Africa.” Because Africa was the only place people were called to.
I’m a comfort girl – always have been. I didn’t like camping in an RV trailer for a week with my family, let alone living in a hut in Africa. I didn’t want to be concerned with contracting malaria or yellow fever and I never, ever, wanted to eat a cricket. I didn’t want to find a snake in my bed, or a lion near the outhouse. I didn’t want to use an outhouse, period (lion, or not).
I was anxious about getting ‘the call’. As the missionaries described it, it always came when they were busy doing something else – you know, like living life in a carefree, easy way. But God demands obedience and he tests our obedience by asking us to do the exact opposite of what we truly wanted to do. I loved God and wanted to be obedient and it was a terrible wait, waiting for ‘the call’. The fact that I was 8 or 9 didn’t matter, I knew the verse in Matthew 18:20, ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations...’
As I got a little older, I learned a loop hole – we could be a missionary right where we are. That was good news and I breathed a little easier (but I never fully relaxed). As I matured in faith and broke through the lie that God was a punisher, I now realize that God works with us to walk in his will. He’s not a dictator, but a loving Father who knows our temperament, skills and passion and provides opportunity for us to express them for his glory. A true missionary is someone who has a mission and lives it.
I’ve just returned from my first “official” ministry trip. I didn’t have to eat any bugs - in fact, the beef roast we had for dinner was exceptionally good, as was the huevo ranchero burrito we had for breakfast. We ministered to a group of people that were hungry for God in their region and we shared testimony and imparted knowledge and prophecy among them. We prayed for the sick and the injured and saw healing occur; mostly, we encouraged them to step into faith as sons & daughters of a Heavenly Father. All of those things is like a fresh drink of water – I love doing them. I could do it here, or there, I could do it anywhere. In a house, with a mouse; in a car that travels very far or a boat across the moat.
In the comments, share how you define mission work.