So, they say I’m a missionary. I’ve eaten, slept, and breathed the missions world for the past years – the conferences, vision tours, books, courses, and committees.
I’ve seen enough sensationalism to make me a skeptic and enough genuine faith to humble me flat.
Why? Because, there are those who talk about missions as something we get to do. I relate, because I’m a do-er myself, recovering by God’s grace. And then, in a field of fresh air, there are those missionaries who just are. There are unassuming and genuine. What they’ve learned and loved from Jesus fills their eyes, their stories, and their responses. They have nothing to prove and no platform to build.
When we ask them for answers or strategies, they, in all their experience and wisdom, show up all dependent. They edge out of the spotlight and encourage us to look beyond them, to pray to the Lord of the harvest, and to wait for His guidance.
These folks, with adventures that could blaze across National Geographic and experience-levels that warrant advanced degrees or a medal or something, count their greatest gain as knowing Jesus, not just serving Him.
Somewhere in the midst of it, I’m learning this: missions isn’t something you get to do. A missionary isn’t just a do-er of good things. And the mission field isn’t an exotic place needing good things done.
But, there is always this misconception in the missions world, isn’t there? We get side-swiped by the doing of it all. I recognize it because I’ve been there myself, talking about changing the world and making a difference. Obviously, those are not bad conversations to have. Yet, they are pretty dependent on me and my actions.
But genuine missions? It’s less about doing and more about being – being a slave, a servant, one who has surrendered the claim to his or her own life. It’s about being the one whose desires above all else to know Jesus in real ways and in everyday ways, come what may.
Missions is what splashes over and graces other lives, only after we have been saturated in the redeeming, relentless love of Jesus. It’s a consequence not a campaign and an after-effect not an agenda.
It’s to be lived out, not accomplished. Missions is not what we do, it’s who we are in Christ, because of Christ, illuminated by Christ for others.
When our relationship with Jesus is not secure, when we are not in His presence, when we are not abiding in Him – missions is faked. It’s just an activity. It shows up in all sorts of self-glorifying, sensational ways. It makes much of us and what we do, and it fails to point people to our Source of hope and love. It’s a disservice at best, a disaster at worst.
So, are you thinking about doing a missions project or going on a trip to do mission work? That’s commendable. Just stay focused on this in the process:
God doesn’t just desire your service; He’s out for your life. All of it. The everyday moments as well as the big trips/projects. He’s pointing you to your family and friends as well as that other cultural group, and to your neighborhood as well as that far-off mission field.
Are you willing to live out missions in your everyday life as well as the set-aside, designated times?
Because, for me, this is what it has come down to – I must not attempt to work for God if I’m not enjoying spending time with God. He alone must be the motivation, the prize to be treasured above all else.
Genuine, tangible faith expressed through good works only comes from knowing Christ Jesus and allowing Him to ignite and commission us, as He sees fit and for His glory.
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Philippians 3:7-12
This post was shared with Christian Mommy Bloggers and Missional Women.