“...and God bless the missionaries all over the world. Amen.”
As children we may have prayed something similar to that statement. Maybe as adults we elaborated a little more on exactly how God should bless the missionaries all over the world...but the “us” (non-missionaries) and “them” (missionaries) mentality still remains.
Occasionally we will be reminded from the pulpit that Christ commanded all of us to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,” (Matt. 28:19). I know, personally, that I believe that is true in theory, but it often doesn’t live out in a very tangible way when I have insulated my life (albeit, unintentionally) with those that are already believers. I try and give myself a swift kick in the pants, to be “on the look out” when I am at the grocery store or some other non-church sort of place (as if I need to look for the person with the big question mark floating over his or her head so I know they are the ones searching for truth). When my awkward attempt at bringing the cashier to repentance ends with an odd look of dismissal, I retreat back to my little church-y world and justify my lack of authentic witnessing with my lack of non-Christian relationships.
The last two Sundays at our church have been so very convicting. Two different speakers (not our regular elders) have issued heart wrenching pleas of centering our life around the gospel. Radical calls have gone out to look at our comfortable, American lives, so nice and neat and sterile, and do more than pray for God to “bless the missionaries all over the world.”
Along with the usual reminder that WE ARE ALL MISSIONARIES, there has been a gentle and broken urging to live a life of such radical obedience, that in every area of our lives, Christ may be proclaimed. Do we need to sell our bigger home and live simply to give the money to the poor or to fund mission work? Maybe move into a neighborhood that we normally avoid driving through? Do we need to adopt a child? Maybe a “crack” baby? Do we need to open our home in some way? Are our neighbors seeing Christ in us? Do we need to give up our retirement plan for the plans of the Kingdom?
God has not promised us retirement, comfort, or even safety. He does promise persecution, trials and rebuke. Am I willing to count the cost? Am I willing to forsake all for the sake of Christ? Am I even willing to contemplate such things? And then, do I dare to breathe such a prayer as, “whatever it takes, use me” ? What if He takes me seriously?
I can’t honestly say, “I’m there”. I like to think that I am, in my self-righteous, glossed over heart. However, I know that this awakening is merely conviction, that demands repentance, that needs to result in change. So, this is just the beginning, a little baby step of obedience. Maybe a shout out to fellow believers because there is strength in numbers and it would be a beautiful thing to see masses of American Christians living radically. Placing my own struggles in writing also calls me into accountability.
I was reading over the Great Commission this morning and realizing how practical the command is for each of us, right where we are. Christ’s disciples were not told to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth via Frequent Flyer Miles. They had two legs and two feet just like me. THAT is the way the gospel was going to get to the ends of the earth. Walking, talking, living, breathing...wave upon wave of a Christ centered life that brought those in their sphere of influence as well as those outside of their comfort zone into a spiritual orbit, revolving around the beauty of the gospel.
I AM A MISSIONARY.