Recognizing Your Mission Field
by Ed Arcton
The following was written by CBC intern Melody Seibenmann, whose grandparents were missionaries in the Dominican Republic until they retired. She grew up in a missions-minded family, to say the least. For example, instead of saving money for vacations, they saved money for family mission trips.
Living “on mission” isn’t a one-week, short-term mission trip.
Sometimes we “commit” to going for a week to another place to serve other people maybe with medicine, or a sports camp or street evangelism or construction.
And I do believe strongly that these trips can have monumental impact for the kingdom of God and have importance.
But “why” we go is more important than “when” or “how long” we go.
Living on mission is about a lifetime commitment to loving others to the truth of the gospel message.
This is not to say short-term mission trips don’t have their places as they can be excellent tools and ways to serve the Lord, but we are all called to be missionaries, all the time. We are called to be missionaries in the home, following Jesus every day with a sacrificial lifestyle.
And the hardest mission field, often or not, is in our homes. It is loving your spouse, loving your children even when they are difficult, loving your neighbors, church members, your friends and it is being committed to living a life of grace and holiness.
When Jesus commissioned his disciples, do you remember where he told them to start? Right there in Jerusalem. The very place that had put him on a cross one month before. “The ends of the earth,” might have seemed easier for the twelve than to go across the street!
Why is that?
It’s because our neighbors, our family, our loved ones all see us on a daily basis, and they know who we are, what we do, and how we live our lives. They can see us for who we truly are – which is either living for the world or living for Jesus.
Going to another place for a week with people you may or may not ever see again can sometimes be easier than witnessing to your mother, father, sister or brother.
Now don’t get me wrong, I too have gone on many short-term mission trips, but for a short-term mission to be “successful,” it needs to have a long-term focus. It needs to be more about the people we are serving than the glory we get from it. It needs to be about meeting people’s needs – spiritually as well as physically, making disciples and starting churches.
Everywhere people are starving, hungry for the truth, but not everyone realizes this yet. And we have the gospel; we have the truth on our shelves at home, maybe some of us multiple ones in multiple translations!
We are spoiled. But every once in awhile we might be feeling generous or able to “sacrifice” a week of our time to visit another country and tell them about Jesus.
I pray that this isn’t true.
Jesus said on the Sermon of the Mount if we do not eat his flesh or drink his blood, also known as complete sacrifice, then we would not be able to follow him truly. I wonder why so many of his disciples left him after that. It’s because they were not willing to make that kind of commitment; they wanted to live for themselves.
Do you ever think about why Judas would betray Jesus?
It’s because Judas wasn’t all-in on Jesus, he wanted Jesus for his own personal gain, and not for his own sacrifice. And so for a handful of silver, the King of Kings was sold out by a supposed friend. I hope I never sell Jesus out. I hope I never exchange the kingdom of heaven or what Jesus’s plan is for my life for something else, something worse, a something that only leads to personal failure and in Judas’s case death.
Most of us are familiar with Luke 9:23 where Jesus commands us to take up our crosses and follow him daily. So too, as all-in missionaries, we must be all-in daily.
Unless you have a different interpretation for the word cross, I prefer the literal one – death and humiliation for the sake of the gospel.
This means we have to be prepared to even give up our lives for the sake of the gospel or anything this world has to offer. This means that following him, truly following him, requires sacrificing ourselves in order to live for him.
Now, wouldn’t that mean we should “sacrifice” every day, every hour and every moment of our lives to live for him? Not just “sacrificing” seven or ten days of the whole year?
May we have the courage to be missionaries for Jesus all-in and all the time, even at home!
May we have the boldness to surrender, to give up our plans and our ways for something much greater, the kingdom of heaven? May we bring glory to him and him alone, no matter where we are, when we are or how we are?
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