EVERY CHRISTIAN A MISSIONARY
(John 20:21) So Jesus said to them again . . . As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
Is it true what pastors say, that every Christian is a missionary? What does that mean? Should we forsake all we have and go off to a foreign field of service until the end of our days? Or is there something more sensible in the statement that sometimes we as believers miss?
After Jesus rose from the dead, He met with His disciples behind closed doors and commissioned them to go out and reach the world with the good news of His salvation. He qualified it by saying as the Father has sent me, I also send you. That means Jesus set the precedent for going on a mission for God. From that we can say Jesus was the first missionary! He indicates, though, that His mission is over but theirs has just begun.
Well, as we read the Bible, and church history, we find that the apostles indeed traveled with the good news message of Jesus all throughout the Roman Empire. Paul came later and did a fantastic job of energetically making proclamation. But the apostles and their generation all died, and the job was left to their successors all the way down to modern day. That means we as contemporary disciples of Christ carry the same imperative of declaring salvation alone through Christ to our present world. The implication is every Christian is a missionary!
Now, I recognize there is a formal calling of certain individuals to be a career missionary. These will be led to leave the comfort zone of their lives to go to another culture and reach a particular people-group for Christ. You will hear their updates and be amazed by the stories of what God is doing in that foreign culture. But keep in mind that we are all on a mission, and that most of us are called to share Christ right where we are. We can go where no missionary can go. We begin at home and we seek to lead every family member to the Lord. Then we broaden by sharing Christ at school and at work and among all of our associations that we are a part of. That is being on a mission for God. And that means you are a missionary! And our job won’t be complete until every person we know has embraced Jesus as their Savior.
But what about those who really do desire to be a formal missionary? Start right where you are at. Before you travel across the ocean for Christ, make sure you first go across the street and share with your neighbor. (Luke 16:10)
Think you’ve missed your opportunity of being a missionary because you got married and had kids or got involved in a life career? Ruth Bell Graham wanted to be a missionary to Tibet, China so bad but then fell in love with and married evangelist Billy Graham. Her lifelong dream was shattered, but little did she know something great was emerging right where she was. Bloom where you are planted, and watch God do great things because you, too, are sent!