I am still working through this idea that we are all missionaries.
If this is your first time on this blog, click here to see how my reasoning goes on this, but the crux of it is: we’re all missionaries, wherever we are. We are sent from God to the people we are with, right now, today.
In my first post I listed some of the attributes that I see in the traditional ‘missionaries’ who I know and I am now attempting to work through that list and figure out how we apply those attributes to ourselves and our lives right here in Dodge.
I missed at least one attribute when I made that list and something I read in ‘Kiss Goodbye’ by Deb Watson today suddenly highlighted it to me.
Deb was talking about one of her daughters and how she went on a short-term missions trip to Mexico and came back feeling a strong calling to go minister there long-term.
I pondered that for a while and then suddenly had a kind of light-bulb moment.
As I was thinking about how God lets people know that they have an assignment somewhere, I suddenly thought about missionaries and how they almost always have a deep love for the people they are sent to. Time after time I hear these stories about how people start feeling a strong calling to go to this place or that place and how that calling then results in a passionate love for the people there. Out of that passionate love flows a great desire to do whatever it takes to minister to those people, to show the Christ’s love and to bring them into the family of God.
As I pondered this, I realised that, if I am a missionary to the town I live in, I need to allow myself to love this community deeply. I need to admit to myself that I am called to these people, that God loves them more than I will ever know and that I need to put aside my prejudices and judgemental attitude and allow that same love of God to flow through me and permeate my every thought.
If I truly love the people in this city then all question of whether or not we are supposed to be ‘missionaries’ right here at home goes out of the window. If I really love the people around me then despite what I don’t like about them, despite the loud music they play and their clothes and tattoos and the way they dress and the language they use and what they drink and smoke and get high on, despite their attitude and the way they look at me, despite the way they trash the neighborhood, despite the fact that I’m jealous that they earn more than me and have lots of fancy toys and nice clothes, despite everything that I can find to dislike about them – I will want them to be saved.
If I want them to be saved, I will do whatever I can, whatever it takes to reach out to them with the good news of new life through Jesus Christ.
If I love them, I will try to reach them – and that’s what being a missionary is all about.
Father, help us to love the people in our communities, help us to love them as you love them. Lord, help us to see our calling to the people around us, to love them and to serve them and help us to be your ambassadors, your missionaries right where we are.
8 Reply to “Becoming a missionary – part 7”
Thank you–for being that missionary in your town that people need. I think its really hard for some people to understand the concept of ‘missionary’ and ‘my town’ becuase ours isn’t a third world country but I believe that in some aspects we need missionaries here more than some of those other places that we pity so much.
Good post. You are right. Love makes all the difference.
I think a love for the lost is something that is sadly missing from a lot of Christians today. There’s an almost overwhelming sense that we should separate ourselves from unbelievers, lest their filthiness rub off.
But we’re pretty filthy ourselves, aren’t we? Made clean by the blood, of course. But still filthy.
This really made me think, Peter.
I’m glad it made you think… but did it make you change anything?
I like that song about Jesus that says “My Jesus would never be accepted in my church, the blood and dirt on his feet might stain the carpet”.
It’s so true in many churches, even our house church to some degree and it’s very sad.
Wow, this is a great post. I think so many times (we have heard it time and time again) that people go on short term trips and get emotional about this or that and then proclaim that they are called to the mission field. I’m not saying that God doesn’t move and groove that way…but I do think that if you are not already loving and serving and honoring those who are in your immediate area, then why in the world would it be a “success” to go across the world or to wherever to serve or feed or do whatever to/for people you don’t even know? To me that is just crazy talk. Start where you are and God will increase your “talents”.
It’s really great having the opinion of an overseas missionary.
I am working on\encouraging my pastor in this same direction by changing our church for a Sunday School-Worship go home church to a community group based church. The purpose of the community groups would be to love each other and the community around them.
We have some small groups already but they are just “good ideas” and not “this is how we do church”. And more importantly, they are not currently focused on loving the community but more on just focusing on the group itself.
My pastor agrees with everything I’m saying, he just says its slow to turn a big ship. I’m just a lay person so my response is – it’s only as slow as we make it.
I also told him that I need the community group to help me do the loving my neighbor thing. On my own, life takes over and I get focused again on just me.
It is slow to turn a big ship – but we probably make it slower than it needs to be.
One of the problems is that, no matter how slow you turn it, there will be some people who fall off the sides as it turns. That can be very difficult for the church, but we pretty much just have to know it’s going to happen and be as gentle, instructive and careful as we can and keep as many on board as possible while it happens.
Keep us updated on your progress!