The church congregation was drawn to a hush as the pastor called Doug and Susan to come up to the front of the church for a blessing. As the couple stood there, holding hands with their heads bowed in prayer, the pastor explained to the congregation about the couples upcoming mission work. On this particular Sunday they were surrounded by their church community and the safety of the church building. On Monday they would depart for a potentially dangerous mission. These were ordinary people. They were not ordained clergy, yet tomorrow they were going to put everything at risk for the Lord. How would this turn out? I invite you to read the outcome……
Have you ever marveled at the courage of those who go off to dangerous territories to bring the light of Christ to others? Have you wondered where their strength comes from? Where do they find their encouragement?
One of the best sources of this encouragement is found in Matthew 5:3-16. I think of these verses as a training guide or field manual for missionary work. These verses also challenge missionaries to make their lights shine brightly.
Anyone preparing for mission work can find courage and comfort in these verses and they can also find God’s promise. Verse 12 states: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” Hence someone who feels called to mission work, and who answers that call, has the assurance of a great reward.
If the Beatitudes are viewed as a field manual for missionary work, a quick summation would reveal this: to be a good missionary one must be: poor in spirit, willing to mourn, meek, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, merciful towards others, clean of heart, someone who is a peacemaker, and finally someone who is willing to be persecuted for their faith and belief in Jesus Christ.
Let’s take a second look at the first and last beatitude. A missionary is called to be: poor in spirit and willing to be persecuted. What did Jesus mean when He said poor in spirit? To be poor in spirit means to understand that no one is responsible for their own existence, God is. He loved each person into existence. It also means that to be a good missionary one must be aware of his or her personal sinfulness and they must never be self-satisfied or proud. A willingness to be persecuted for the Lord speaks for itself.
Okay, let’s get back to Doug and Susan. Who are they and where were they being sent off to? You and I are Doug and Susan. Each week we are commissioned on Sunday to go forth from Sunday’s service to love and serve the Lord and each other. We are commissioned to be missionaries. Our mission fields are our homes, our neighborhoods, our work places and all of our social environments. The people we encounter every day are the ones we are called to serve. We are called to be the city on the hill and the light that cannot be hidden.
Yes, you and I are missionaries. The question is this: will we be effective in our vocation as missionaries? Jesus tells us that we are to all be salt of the earth and light for the world. He warns that salt can lose its taste and no longer be good for anything other than to be thrown under foot and trampled upon. He tells us a lamp is to be placed on a lamp stand, not put under a bushel basket.
Our world can be a dangerous mission field. Each week we are challenged to go into these fields. We are blessed and commissioned on Sunday. Will you accept this vocation from the Lord? Will you go forth and shine? This choice is up to each of us. What will we decide?
This week’s discussion questions:
- What does the word missionary mean?
- Has God called you into the vocation of being a missionary?
- Are you fulfilling that vocation?
- Do your actions from Monday through Saturday bring glory to our Lord?
Heavenly Father, each week I hear your call to go out and spread your Son’s word. Many weeks Lord, other worldly distractions prevent me from being the missionary that you call me to be. Send forth your Holy Spirit and grant me to courage to answer your call this week. I ask this in the name of Jesus your Son, amen!
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