What comes to mind when you think of the word “missionary”? How would you define it? Here is a sampling of dictionary definitions:
A person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, as educational or hospital work.
A person strongly in favor of a program, set of principles, etc., who attempts to persuade or convert others.
A person who is sent on a mission, especially one sent to do religious or charitable work in a territory or foreign country.
These are solid textbook definitions for a missionary. Christian missionaries of this sort are both vital and valuable to expanding the cause of the kingdom. They are a very special breed of Christian, who have been called and equipped for kingdom work, often in some of the most remote places and harsh environments. They embody our Lord’s Great Commission to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Every member of the church of Jesus Christ should be committed to supporting these mighty warriors of the Word.
But they are not the only ones in the church who are called to be missionaries! Far too many in the church today regard a missionary as someone else who has received special gifts and has been sent off into darkest Africa (or some other distant land) to reach out to a particular people. When we think this way, we remove ourselves from the front lines of faithful living under the Lordship of Christ and mistakenly assume it is someone else’s job to reach out to the lost and broken people of this world. This results in sleepiness of the soul and a woefully weakened witness.
I would like to expand on the job description of “missionary” just a bit, so we can see that we are all missionaries who have been called by God into the mission fields—right where we currently are! Make no mistake, you are a missionary, no matter what your gifting, your education, or your vocation.
So . . . what mission are you currently on? Is it a mission of expanding the kingdom of your Savior? Or the kingdom of yourself? Below are two primary marks of the Christian who is living for the Savior and not the self.
1. “Other” Orientation – Living for the kingdom of your Savior is marked by being oriented toward others. You put others first. You consider others better than yourself. You want to serve others rather than being served by others.
2. Self-Sacrificing – Living for the kingdom of your Savior is marked by self-sacrifice, rather than self-protection. Being inconvenienced is not an inconvenience. Being discomforted is not discomforting. Being troubled is not troubling. A day well spent is a day spent in sacrificial service to others.
Putting others first and serving them sacrificially is the way we act out practically what we already are positionally. When we locate our identity is in Christ and not in the things of this world, we rightly see ourselves as missionaries, privileged to be serving our Lord wherever we are and in whatever way we have been equipped to do it.
We have been called to be the aroma of Christ to the world (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)—whether that part of the world be darkest Africa . . . or your local grocery store. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that[Jesus has] commanded you.”
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!