“The goal is equality”
1 Corinthians 8:14
What exactly is a "Missionary” you ask me? Well, I respond, lots of people have lots of different interpretations of what a (upper case) Missionary actually is in society today. The dictionary describes a Missionary as “a person sent on a religious mission, especially one sent to promote Christianity in a foreign country” but it would seem as if this definition is outdated and lacks the excitement that being a Missionary should uphold.
However, we are not going to look at the job role as such in this series but instead how we can all be (lower case) ‘missionaries’ in God’s Kingdom, and how He has equipped us to step into the delight of serving others. The ultimate goal of mission is to use our commitment and discipleship in Christ to tell the rest of the nation about His glory and freedom, and we can do this regardless of being a Missionary or not.
In 1 John 3:16 it says “this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and our sisters.” Jesus died for us and therefore we have the privilege and authority to share this message with other people. Missionary K.P. Yahannan defines this even better by saying “here were a people of great privilege – a nation more able, more affluent and more free to act on the Great Commission than any other in all of history.”
So how do we actively step into this? Conveniently, when God made us He crafted into us lots of different ways in which we can serve others:
RECIPE (USE ACCORDING TO TASTE) =
1 heaped tbsp. Thoughtfulness
5 tbsp. Servant-Heartedness
1 live heart
The first and arguably most important fruit of the spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). How incredible is it that God is the creator of love? The CREATOR of LOVE. Just sit and think about that for a minute, the author of this universe, who designed such a profound expression, wants nothing more, than to have you in his arms. Mark tells us in his gospel to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (20:30) and “love your neighbour as yourself” (20:31). If we truly believe that “there is no commandment greater than these” (20:31) then we must act upon the law of God for the greater good of His children.
The most important aspect of thoughtfulness when it comes to mission, in my opinion, is being aware of the things around you and simply being grateful for them.
TIARA TALE - Jodie's Story
“I used to always leave the lights on in my bedroom when I left for school and my mum would go BALISTIC telling me how much money I was “wasting”, and I never really understood until I saw first-hand on a trip to Tanzania that I was taking my home electricity for granted. It would be unusual where I was staying for them not to lose power at least once a day, and still their gratitude overflowed for the things God had blessed with them. This hit me hard, and from then on I became aware of the blessing I am given every day when I turn my bedroom light on.”
Another aspect of thoughtfulness is being consciously aware of how you can serve someone. Its 1pm, you’re walking down the high street and you see a homeless person who could certainly do with some lunch. Train your mind to alert your heart to do something about it, and go and buy that person some lunch.
Humility is the birthing place of being a servant for God, which basically means placing your identity and affirmation in him instead of the world. You are serving to spread the glory of God, not for the confirmation of your loyalty to God from the people around you. All I can really say on this topic is be willing, be patient and be sacrificial. With these 3 things in your belt, servant heartedness will become easier the more and more you practise it.
Active compassion is super important in building community; being able to empathise with each other on a deeper level than just feeling creates the foundations of a family who understand each other and want the best for each other. Not only does compassion build your community where you are but it also opens your eyes to the poverty, injustice and equality which is going on around you. Whether this is in your country or overseas, our compassion should be adaptable in every situation we see.
In the Hillsong Worship song ‘Hosanna’ the lyrics cry out “break my heart for what breaks yours” and this is summary of compassion in the midst of our faith. We must be praying every day for God to mould us into more of His image.
Top tip: Jesus is our guide to compassion and the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) show us this. From healing to teaching, Jesus was the ultimate missionary. Go and read!
We must do all this in faith; our belief in God is our sword to combat the things which make our heart yearn for the “goal of equality”. K. P. Yahannan writes in his book ‘Revolution in World Missions’ “the only weapon that will ever effectively win the war against disease, hunger, injustice and poverty (in Asia) is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Not only is this relevant for Asia but the rest of the world. How incredible is it that have the answer to our problems in the palm of our hands?! We are called to change the lives of the people around us through grace, by faith.
“Faith by itself, if it is accompanied by action, is dead.”(James 2:17) – this is such an important verse in understanding the duty we have because we know Jesus to actively step out and follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
Finally, be bold in your faith by praying courageously and believing whole-heartedly that God can change things.
So what does this look like for me in my life?
1. Find a way to serve your community, is there a homeless centre you could volunteer at in your area or can you join the club in your school which helps younger years with their homework? If you don't feel like you can join anything, make your own club! Go for it!
2. Put down the nonessentials of life and pick the wealth of the Kingdom of God. How? Get rid of the value you have on objects like your phone, laptop, textbook by not relying not them to bring you happiness or fulfilment. You could pray into this by yourself or with your youth group.
3. In one sentence write down the single most important thing you want to do with the rest of my life and keep it safe! Then begin!