Friday, October 18, 2013

What Changes a Life?

As I noted earlier Missions Conference is over for this year. One of my favorite things about Missions Conference is meeting our missionary families. We talk about deputation and life on the field. I play games with their kids in the nursery. We chat about life while we visit the bus route. And you know what I've noticed? They are *just* normal people. 

I don't say that to diminish what they do. It's amazing that they are willing to serve God and follow Him around the world. They leave family and culture and comfort to go somewhere else to tell others about Jesus. They are Christian "celebrities" and they should be. I want our children to know and love our missionaries. 

photo courtesy of domdeen/

But they aren't spiritual superheros. They are people. People with problems. People with difficulties. People who are growing in their faith.  It's easy to look at Bible characters, preachers, missionaries, etc, as somehow being larger-than-life or other-worldly. But they are people. And people are people wherever you go. 

I always had the idea that if you surrendered to be a missionary you automatically became a spiritual giant. You had faith that moved mountains, never struggled with doubts and fears, and had memorized the Bible front to back (maybe the index too!). It never bothered you to serve your family quietly without notice, respond graciously to hateful people, or travel far from family. But our missionaries are very open with their humanness. They don't pretend sainthood but they are dedicated to giving their lives to Christ. 

Jesus expects the same from us even if we live in America. (Maybe more with all our privileges?) We shouldn't hold other people to a higher standard than we do ourselves, even if they are in "full-time service." (I think all Christians are in full-time service but that's another post.)  So how can we be growing Christians even if we aren't missionaries to a foreign field? Do we wait until God calls us to suddenly realize that people are watching us and we need to show them Christ? No. We have a mission field wherever we are. 

Just a few thoughts: 
- Grow where you are. Maybe you would like to be years more mature spiritually or know more of your Bible. But you don't. Don't give up; start where you are. Learn a little today and a little tomorrow. It will add up. 

Don't wait for some event or happening before you decide to serve. Don't wait until you are done with school or until you move. Don't wait until you get married or have kids. Don't wait until you get a position at church or a new job. Grow now. 

-Serve where you are. Do what you can. Do what's needed. Don't do what's not needed. I almost think that one is more crucial. We are so easily offended if our service isn't wanted or our idea isn't used. Be willing to "not do" whatever it is if that's most helpful to the cause of Christ. 

We can't decide that reading the Bible, soul-winning, or discipling are only tasks for the preacher or the missionary. God wants to use us to reach the world. Kentucky is my part of the world. 

-Love where you are. Why would you love the people of the mission field if you won't love the people in your town? If you won't love the people in your house? 

-Surrender your all to God where you are. God wants all of you. He wants all of you whether you are a missionary, a doctor, a mom, a writer, a technician. It doesn't matter what He has given you to do, He wants you. 

It's not the call to the mission field that changes a life. It's deciding to give God every day. Today when you get up, give it to Him in His service. Do the same tomorrow. And the same the next day. That's the only way you could serve God as a missionary. That's the only way you can serve God where you are. God doesn't ask for less because you aren't a missionary to a foreign field. He doesn't care about your location; He cares about your heart. 

He who does not serve God where he is would not serve God anywhere else.  Charles Spurgeon


  1. My pastor once said something that completely changed my outlook: "we are all missionaries who just happen to have other jobs. No matter where we are we should be doing His work." I am trying to live with the mindset that I am a missionary who is also a mother and a teacher. Thought you might enjoy that.