You’ve heard the horror stories, haven’t you?
Stories of long-mission trips gone wrong. The ruthless politics of missionary societies. The exotic diseases picked up and brought home. Worms.
From experience, I know that trips can be gruesome and messy. But there is a beautiful side to missions that I want you consider. A beautiful side that makes all the pain worth it. Missions work is a privilege that is worth the pain that comes with it.
That is my goal in writing this series, and this post: To introduce missionary work, as messy as it might be, as a romantic fulfillment of your calling as a Christian.
Let’s take a deeper look at this.
Contents (Feel free to skip around)
Here is a Revolutionary Thought about Missions
What if missions was the best expression of following in the footsteps of Christ?
Yes, yes, I know that we can study the Bible, savor the Bible, worship together, fellowship together, and work on personal disciplines. But what if being a missionary was the ultimate way for the believer to identify with Christ?
After all, He went on a missionary journey too:
- His home was the throne room of Heaven
- His voyage was the incarnation
- His mission field was Earth
- His “lifestyle” was rattled (As a God, He immersed Himself into the world of sinning humans, a lifestyle completely out of his element.)
Maybe missions work is what Jesus had in mind when he uttered those promethean words “As the Father has sent me… so I send you.”
He Saves Us To Send Us
But Am I really called to this?
Well, consider 2 verses with me.
The reason you were saved
First, head over to 2 Tim. 1:8-9. Here’s what it reads:
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began…
I want to point out 2 phrases in particular: “He saves us” and “He calls us”. Notice how Paul has taken the time to write these 2 phrases separately. That’s because your salvation and your calling two different things.
Your salvation leads to your call. When you first become a Christian, you are in a euphoric state where you want to learn everything, eliminate all sin, and write love poems to Jesus all day. But once the smoke settles, you should have a sense of calling- a particular purpose that God is bringing to your attention.
Notice also the word “HIS” own purposes. He calls us with His purposes in mind. So many Christians are saved and then proceed to live their own lives in the own manner. But we’ve been saved to be used by him. THis is a foundational principle.
How the Lord will use you to show his power
I also want to show you 1 Tim. 1:12-16:
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
You’ve been there haven’t you?
You’ve felt the sting of sin, and you’ve echoed Paul’s lament: “I am the worst sinner”
I’ve been there too. And yet Paul’s spin on the subject encourages me. He knows He has sinned, and yet He recognizes what so many of us miss. And it’s this thought that makes all the difference: God is changing me from what I was.
It is an inexplicable, enchanting change- words cannot describe the radical nature of what has happened to you . And God has purposed to display that change for the all the world to see.
Isn’t that amazing? What do you think? It’s huge news! God wants to do a radical change in your life; He wants that change to be seen. But that change will never be seen from the backside of your living room. Hence the nature of missions work. It puts that change on display.
So, putting this altogether, you were saved with a purpose. And that purpose is to show the world that you are evidence of God’s promethean power. The Gospel must be seen in your life.
But before you strap your boots on and start making travel plans, ask yourself an important question:
Have you Heard the Call to Go?
That call might take different forms, but the essential part is that you sense some sort of “pull” to go. It is a magnetism that you cannot shake. A romance that you cannot lose.
Someone once wrote this concerning the call to ministry:
Your call to ministry does not have to be like my call or anybody else’s call, for that matter. In fact, one of the most interesting features of calling is that whether you look in the pages of the Bible or the annals of church history, God rarely calls two people in the exact same way. It is very important not to standardize the calling experience. Sometimes, it is a dramatic Damascus Road experience. Other times, it is more of an inward pull. But however your sense of calling has developed, it is imperative to recognize that you must have a clear sense of calling before you enter ministry.
Before you make any moves, you must make sure that you are called to do this. Because, as we’ll see in future posts, missions work is no walk in the park. But it’s worth every sleepless night, financial sacrifice, unforeseen disappointment. It is what you were created to do.
Is everyone called to go overseas? No.
But if you are sensing the call to missionary work, I would encourage you not to ignore it. The first step to getting involved with missions work is hearing a call to the mission field.
God knows exactly who should stay and who should go. All the inertia is for staying. I am lifting my voice for going. There is not one chance in a million that too many will go. I hope you will be one of them.
Is It worth it? Yes. Here’s why: Because you were made and saved to be sent. And that is not an opportunity you want to miss.
Do sense a calling for missions work? How do you discern that call? Leave a comment and let us know!
**This post is part of the Series “A Captivating Guide to Missions”**