So, teacher, custodian, businessman, salesman, mechanic, interior designer, musician, stay at home mom, barista… How was your day on the mission field?
In Mark 16:15, Jesus told His disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” His last words, found in Matthew 28:19 say, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
God has called you and me, right here and now, to be missionaries – to preach the gospel and to make disciples. Right here in plain old Tucson, Arizona, in my regular apartment complex, with my regular job, I have the chance and obligation to share God’s truth with others. After all, I see people everyday who are living life without God and who need His salvation as much as I did.
And I do feel a burden for them. I pray for opportunities to share. I feel ready. I feel determined.
And then a week goes by in which I have done nothing in the mission field in which God has planted me. Why does that happen? Why do we never seem to be able to follow through on our determination to live on mission? Why do we always seem to end up sidetracked?
I think there are a few different reasons…
1. We don’t always have the right tools.
In 1 Timothy 2:15, Paul told the young man he was mentoring, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
As much as we may have the heart for people and a heart that longs to serve God, we can’t be good “workers” without the tools we need. When we decide to follow God’s design for a life lived on mission, we need to be really, deeply in the Bible. We have to know and understand what God’s Word means for us and what it means for others if we want to share those truths with other people.
This means that any day that I don’t work to grow my own relationship with God or any day that I don’t make the effort to really study His Word, I am already making it harder for me to share Good News…
2. We are often too busy.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…”
I know that I often get so wrapped up in my to-do list that when I have the chance to talk with someone about the Lord, I just blow past the opportunity without even noticing… If I would just take the time to prioritize people, I might see opportunities popping up all over the place.
3. We don’t have the right outlook.
I think our biggest problem is when we lose our perspective. When we start to think that people are ok where they are or that we don’t want to change our relationship with them. When we forget that someone once shared with us the life-changing, soul-saving message of Christ and that it alone is the Way for people to come to God. We forget verses like John 3:36, which says, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Is that really where we want to leave people? Sitting under the wrath of God just because they don’t know the way out?
I get so frustrated so often at my inability to reach the world around me. I desperately want to, and yet I am missing opportunities time and time again to tell others.
I pray that God would change my mindset to one like that found in Colossians 4:2-6:
“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”