What comes to mind when you hear the word “Missionary”? For me, I always think of Jim Elliot. He and four other men went to Ecuador in the 1950’s to bring the Gospel to the Waodani Indians. They unfortunately lost their lives in the process; killed by the very people they were trying to reach for Jesus. (if you’re interested in learning more about Jim Elliot there is an awesome movie based on the true story of his life titled End Of The Spear you should check out!!)
Another question; what do missionaries do? What is their main purpose in life? Most Christian missionaries would say their primary purpose is obedience to the Great Commission. Acts 1:8b states it this way: “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Put another way it’s Jesus saying, “Go and tell everyone everywhere about me.”
So, missionaries are people who uproot their entire lives and move to a foreign country to tell people about Jesus, right? Or… not? While that may be our “stereotype” of missionaries… it’s a false one. When Jesus called believers, it was a call to all of us to be witnesses for him and he specified exactly where; Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the ends of the earth. Our overseas missionaries have the ends of the earth part covered. “Someone” still needs to reach Jerusalem, and Judea/Samaria – our own backyard. That “someone” is us.
As you look around our neighborhood what do you see? I see people… people just like us. Many are economically challenged. Some are physically limited. I see severed relationships, addiction, hurting children, hatred among friends, broken families. And, more devastating than any of these difficult life situations… I see 135,000 of our neighbors who don’t know Jesus; and this life is as good as life will ever get for them. Unless… unless “someone” tells them.
Tells them what? That there is a God who loves them. A God whose Son died to save them. A God who promises a better life now and eternal life in the future for everyone who believes. Our purpose statement here says that “We Exist To Love People To Life”. The most loving thing “someone” can ever do is share the truth about Jesus with those who don’t know Him.
Whether we know it or not, we are all called to be missionaries. Our mission field is right outside of our front doors; in our communities, our schools, our places of work and often in our own families. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 10:
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:13-14
You and I are “someone”… let’s choose to tell them.
How might seeing yourself as a home town missionary change how you interact with people in your life? If you were on mission with this mission; if it became your purpose would you be more likely to look for and take opportunities to share Jesus with others?
“So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” Romans 10:17
Dear Lord, you have called and commissioned me and all Jesus followers to share the Good News. You command us to be your witnesses and make disciples of all nations. You empower us through your Holy Spirit. Empower me now to be obedient; to be someone willing to tell others about you. Amen.