Monday, April 9, 2007

The Truth about Missions

Missions is a gift. It is a gift that God has given the world in that He calls and equips men and women to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are perishing. However, some have an unbiblical view of missions, much like the men in this cartoon. Many won't consider missions, because they are fearful of where that may take them and what it may cost them.

When graduating from seminary I remember speaking with different soon-to-be-graduates. Many wouldn't even consider missions. Some would only minister in a part of the US where the climate was as they desired or where mama was just down the street. Others weren't willing to go because "they couldn't learn another language" or that it "would be too hard on my family." But what kind of a view is this of ministry and of fulfilling the great commission?

Jesus in Matthew 10, when commissioning His disciples, told them to go and preach, not to acquire riches, and to endure persecution. He said He was sending them out as sheep in the midst of wolves. He promised them that they would be hated because of His name. Then He gave the example of Himself. He said, "a disciple is not above his teacher."

But how many today say they are "called to the ministry," but put themselves above their Teacher? Jesus' commissioning of His disciples in Matt. 10 is a call to suffering, a call to surrender, to perseverance, persecution, and is a call of self-abandonment for the sake of Christ. This is a description of the life of Christ. It is what He experienced and what He promised that His disciples would experience. To seek to avoid such a life and ministry is to put oneself above his Master.

He who loves father, mother, son, daughter more than Christ is not worthy of Him. He who does not forsake all and take up his cross and follow after Him is not worthy of Him. Anything else is unsatisfactory.

The mission field is a battleground. Jesus understood this. After seeing the hurting multitude at the end of chapter 9, He called and commissioned His discplies in chapter 10 telling them what would come and how they were to respond to it. Jesus knew what it would take to reach these people with the truth.

The truth is that missions always has been and always will be hard work. Let's pray that the Lord would send out more laborers into the harvest.