As we begin Missions week at White River I am reminded of the mission that we are all on in this life. It is wonderful to be able to focus on the amazing work that God is doing in our community and around the world. We are given a special glimpse into ministries that we may be only vaguely aware of. We are able to connect with those who have dedicated their lives to full-time ministry, possibly in a different country or perhaps in our own back yard. But I believe one of the true purposes of Mission’s week is to remind us that we are all involved in full-time ministry; we are all on a mission.
It can be easy to get trapped in the thought that being a missionary has to be someone who goes over seas or works for an outreach organization here at home, when in fact, we are called to be missionaries in our communities and places of work. We live in a time and culture where countless people we come into contact with every day do not know Jesus. Sure most people in our country would still identify as Christian but the prevailing data shows that this simply could be lip service. More people claim to be Christians because they were raised that way or that it is simply the way it has always been in their family or community. But in spite of this, each generation has less and less of a working knowledge of what the Bible actually says. People are allowing the story of God’s redemption to be watered down and robbed of its power by Bible illiteracy and seeking to be spoon fed the truths of Christ rather than actively pursuing a relationship with Him. The need for followers of Christ to be on mission has never been so great.
It is also easy to fall into the idea that missionary work is something you do, when in reality it is something we are. On a daily basis each one of us should serve and speak to those around us in ways that bring the Gospel to light. When this thought is foundational in our lives it is not something we “do” but rather who we are. We miss so many opportunities to spread the love of God because we think we need to go somewhere other than exactly where we are to spread the Gospel. As it has been said many times, “our mission field is all around us.”
This is in no way meant to be a slight on the many wonderful people who sacrifice so much to help promote the Gospel in either short or long-term missions, but rather a challenge to us to take the call of God on our everyday lives more urgently. We are missionaries in a world that is more and more likely not to know Jesus. What was common knowledge even among non-Christians a generation ago has now been replaced by a mismatch of information that is misleading at best and a lie at worst. The same mindset that leads a person to drop everything and travel to a foreign country for the sake of the Gospel must permeate our everyday lives. Our mission is waiting for us each morning when we wake and leave our homes, and it is clear; the good news of Jesus is for each and every person I come into contact with this day.
So the question going forward is, do we see ourselves as missionaries in our everyday lives? Are we willing to drop what we are doing for the sake of spreading the Gospel, to travel around the world if need be, but much more are we willing to have this mindset in the seemingly mundane minutia of day-to-day life? The mission is right there in front of us for us to accept. I am reminded of the sign that graced the exit to our parking lot not long ago. It said ” Mission field ahead” and we need to have this mindset to affect our community and world that so desperately needs Jesus.