Many of us grew up with the perception that missions was the work of a select few who would work among the people in foreign countries and tell them about God. These missionaries were a group of super-Christians who marched to the beat of a different drummer and somehow seemed to always have a slide projector in their back pocket. Daron Earlewine, one of the pastors at my fellowship, recently said something I found quite challenging. He said that we have gotten it all wrong, and that we need to drop the “s” off of missions so all we are left with is the word “mission”. This is not for a select few; there is no such class as a super-Christian. For too long we have sat idly by watching others carry out the great commission, going out into all the world while we have sat huddled within the glow of our televisions and the warmth of our homes. If we would be followers of Jesus, we must walk out our front door and into the world. We must tell people about the love of Jesus and invite them to receive the baptism of His Spirit into their lives so they too can experience the love of Christ and join in His mission.
Everyone has a mission field; everyone is called, but few respond. The usual objection is that there are enough hurting people around us, so we do not need to go to foreign countries. Jesus said to go out into the entire world, and it’s true that your street is part of that world. The question then becomes, how are you carrying out the mission of Jesus in the place in which you live? If we grant that we don’t have to go into the diverse places of the planet, that we need to serve those in our immediate surroundings, then much is expected of us right where we are. It has been my experience that those who say they don’t need to go out because there is so much work to be done all around them, never seem to get to doing that work. Once satisfied with their excuse, they are content to once again insulate themselves from the very need to which they drew attention. We are all called to tell everyone about the love of Jesus; no exemptions have been granted. There are no exceptions to serving others in His name. It’s true that we all have different gifts and abilities, but every one of us can be a reflection of the love of God. Every one of us can point others to Christ.
Jesus came to earth with the mission of redeeming a sinful and flawed people. He came to serve those who were proud, to touch those who were sick and to feed those who were hungry. He came to show compassion to the weak and suffering, to bring justice to the abused and outcast. This is the mission of Jesus, the one He commanded His followers to continue to carry out when He ascended into Heaven. Two thousand years later we have relegated His command to a select few out of selfishness and convenience. We have convinced ourselves that it is the work of someone else to go and share the love of Christ to those who have never heard his name. Meanwhile we stew in our affluence, bathing in our own self righteousness, convinced if we will simply write a check every so often that we have fulfilled our duty before the Lord. God does not need your money, He needs your life. When we gave our hearts to Jesus, we surrendered our life to Him; we gave up all our dreams and aspirations so that we might pursue His plan for the world. At some point we turned away from our convictions and have decided that the American dream is more worth pursuing than the Kingdom of God; how foolish, and how ridiculous is that to actually admit? Are we seriously convinced that anything on this earth is worth more than the smallest piece of Heaven?
Jesus died for your sins and for mine; He suffered for you and for me. We – each one of us who have accepted Christ – have chosen to follow Him and to do the things He told us to do. If we are serious about following Jesus, then our life is no longer our own. We are now His hands and His feet, and our passion is solely for Him. To follow the instructions of Christ must be our driving passion; it’s what makes us come alive. Jesus said to take the message of His love into the entire world. This is more than just missions work for a few; this is the mission for us all.