Because most days in life I only get to nod and smile whilst dying inside //
These are some of my many thoughts on the subject of missions abroad vs at home
I had a conversation last week and it got me to thinking (as most conversations do). I had just told this woman that I was preparing to start my missions training courses with the intent of serving overseas. She began to tell me how sad it was that “people” felt they had to go overseas (to preach the gospel and minister to others) when there were plenty of opportunities right here. She went on to say what a pity it was that every Sunday morning she saw so many children in the neighborhoods playing in the streets or riding their bikes (and not attending church). “People don’t need to go overseas–it’s a shame–there is plenty of work right here.” I nodded, smiled, looked sympathetic, and honestly felt misunderstood once again. But that’s not a new sensation to me, so I kept quiet and let her talk, as I always seem to find myself doing. Why don’t I ever speak up? I asked myself. Well, there’s a whole host of reasons, some of which are linked to insecurity, but mostly, I just don’t have the motivation to bother. If someone doesn’t seem like the receptive type, why split hairs? She had her mind made up. But then, so do I.
Missions. It can be a very ambiguous term, but I’m going to use it in it’s most general meaning today: spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving world. However, I’m finding there is much emphasis in the Bible on spreading this message to those who have never heard. Now that I’m writing this out, I think that may be just it. I think this may be the difference. One is evangelism and the other, missions. So let’s try this again, shall we?
Evangelism- spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving world
Missions- spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving world, specifically and especially to those who have never heard
Both of these should be followed up with discpleship and since going to the unreached also requires church planting to keep the faith growing and spreading, it requires more work, more time, and more effort. It is not mere street or neighborhood or grocery store evangelism. It is not passing out tracks or hosting backyard Bible clubs or serving in a local shelter or orphanage. All of these things may be on the to do list and in the life of an overseas missionary, but that is just it. Missions in itself is a lifestyle. And it is a lifestyle that I am straining to live here in the US, but my heart is so drawn across the seas to those who have no hope. They don’t even know Who Jesus is! They know only darkness and unbelief. They are surrounded by evil spirits every day and don’t even recognize it. They sense no danger. They know no other way. There are no churches on their street corners, there is no chance meeting of a follower of Christ. Unless someone chooses to obey. To give up there comfortable Western life, their minor struggles, their aches and pains and heartaches and let their heart ache for something else. For those who have never heard. For every tribe, every language, every nation, every unreached person bound in the chains of ignorance. “And then the end will come.”
Let your heart break.
And then go.
Because feelings without action is not obedience. It’s only emotion.