Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bringing Jesus

Missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs, nor out of theological arguments, but out of love. If I do not love a person I am not moved to help him by proofs that he is in need; if I do love him, I wait for no proof of a special need to urge me to help him. ~Roland Allen

People often think that a mission field has to be in a foreign country, under some mission organization, or perhaps for a particular cause like bringing shoes to children in India. We have made the concept of being a missionary or going on the mission field synonymous with an organization. While it is true that organizations can do more by pooling resources and they have their place in God's plan, that is not the only way to get it done, the "it" being God's work. Even today there are missionaries who just...go.

Years ago, I knew a newly married young couple who were called to be missionaries in Albania. They asked churches and individuals for support and when they had enough to make the trip over, they just went. They had no organization to support them, but they had everything they needed because God just provided it. They told us stories about how God provided for them. Once they desperately needed about $200 before a deadline of 2:00 PM while they were back visiting family and gaining more support. There was a place that had very small houses where missionaries could stay while they were visiting in the States. There they prayed and prayed. A trucker pulled up his huge semi to the little house and handed them a check saying God told him they needed this money. Even in the early days of their missionary work, they had many such stories of God's provision.

That was how they lived as missionaries without the security of an organization. They simply had faith in God to provide for their needs in every way. They also had no oversight other than God. In this way they had complete freedom to go where the Lord wanted them to go and when He wanted them to go. They held Bible studies in their home and in the homes of the people who invited them. They traveled to surrounding villages and helped people with whatever they could. They did not hand out dishes of food or bags of clothing and leave. They did not live in a nice house. They lived there as one of them with only a tickle of water at certain times of the day and some electricity a few hours of the day if they were fortunate. Even the most impoverish American families had living conditions better than these missionaries. They also dealt with danger: someone tried to set fire to their home.

These conditions are what we think is a real mission field, but I once met one of the princes of Ghana. To be a prince of Ghana, you simply had to be the son of one of the twenty-something kings or tribal chiefs who could have several wives and dozens of children. This man was the first born of the king, so he was in line to be king. One of the things he hoped to change in his country was the hospitals; they needed more of them and better equipment. He felt that he would be able to accomplish more as a politician and since the kings there cannot be in politics, gave his birthright to his oldest brother. I met him when he was a missionary here in the U.S., because he believed that Christianity in the States was so watered down and lukewarm that too many church members were not really Christians. His mission field was not on the streets or in shelters with the homeless, but all over and in our churches also. I guess we would like to think of him as an evangelist rather than missionary as I noticed some people were offended and others thought him to be quaint, I suppose, missing the point of why God called him to be a missionary in the States for a time.

Jesus was a missionary. His disciples where missionaries. I am a missionary. I believe all Christians are called to be missionaries. It is our mission to be His Kingdom at hand, to be Jesus to people. My mission field is not in another country or another state. My mission field is where I am and where I go. Sometimes it is the grocery store. You might see me shopping for food and for years I was just shopping trying to get it done and move on, but now I am shopping for my Lord; I am shopping for those who need healing, for those who need to see Jesus, for those my Lord has brought to the store to meet Him in me. I am happy to stretch my schedule on the spot to be Jesus to someone who needs Him.

I am not bragging on myself, I am simply determined to refocus every area of life, especially outside of my home and the church, on my Lord and His Kingdom, and lead by example so people will do the same. Everything that I need to do or comes up is foremost a means to be where He wants me to be at that time to show His love to others. I will wait in line just so I can talk to others waiting in line or to the cashier instead of using the self-serve check-out stations. I want my life to be about making Jesus real to people. Healings have happened in stores and restaurants--yes, while out shopping and eating, folks--and more healings will happen in unexpected yet ordinary places. For me, it is no longer about doing errands just to do them, but how can I use this to be Jesus, to be encouraging, to show His love, to bring His Kingdom to the people in the same place I am.

I do not want to miss the opportunities to show people the Kingdom, their home where they would want to be if they could just see even a glimpse of it, their God they would want to worship if they could just feel His love. I am not very good at this, but I desire it and I am surrendering myself to my Lord. I want to bring Jesus to people.



~ My Lord, give me Your boldness and Your words. Guide me to be where You need me to be and help me to get my selfish self out of the way of You and Your work. ~

2 comments:

  1. I'm not very good at it either but agree it's the church's commission ~ & we are the church. ☺

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    Replies
    1. If we are in the Kingdom, then the Kingdom is at hand wherever we go. I (we) have to stop seeing barriers and being afraid of *being* Christians. Christ did NOT sit in the synagogue praying for the people to come to Him there, He went out to meet the people where they were and showed people God's love in an undeniable and tangible way by healing them. I really don't know how I read all this in the Bible for so many years and just sat there not acting on it, although that is what the church did all that time.

      But no more of that for me. When I leave my house, I pray about the people I will encounter while out. I look for people who need healing and His Love.

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.