All this talk about mission. God’s mission. Our mission in San Diego. God’s big picture. But sometimes we can get so caught up the in lingo and not know where the rubber meets the road. Or maybe we have a hard time believing that God actually has given us a mission in the first place.
I know I have struggled with this before, but more and more God is showing me the reality of his mission in my life, in this city. Often we relegate mission to the confines of an overseas mission trip, or to missionaries who go to another land to share the Gospel of Jesus. But God has called all of us to mission, and he’s called us all to be missionaries — whether in our land or in lands unknown. We (followers of Jesus) are all missionaries. We are all sent.
I was reading some of Jesus’ parting words with his disciples in the book of John a few days ago. This passage really hit me:
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify[b] them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
As Jesus is praying over the twelve, these are some of the words he prays. He wants them to live with joy. He knows that the world will hate them because they are so radically different. But in the face of the world’s opposition to the gospel, he doesn’t pray for them to be delivered from the world, but rather delivered from the evil one as they are SENT INTO the world.
Often Christian groups, tend to turn inward. Many call it the “these-four-walls” mentality. Some have resigned to huddle together and wait for Jesus to come back. But Jesus’ desire for us is that we would take the joy of serving him INTO the world to which we’ve been sent. Just as Jesus was sent from God, he sends us into the world. His prayer for Christians is not that they would be taken out of the suffering, brokenness, and pain that are in the world — but that we would live with joy in the midst of a hurting world — missionaries sent with the message of reconciliation to all those around us. Our co-workers, neighbors, families and friends.
And I believe that being sent into our world means more than attending a weekly Sunday meeting. It means more than being a good person. Those are all great goals, but I believe God has so much more to say about how we live our lives than can be contained on Sundays or can be taught with good moral lessons. God’s Word is light and life, and Jesus has the power and desire to speak into every arena of our lives. As a church, let’s not confine God to a few hours on a Sunday morning or a mid-week meeting. Let us constantly ask the questions, “How can I follow Jesus in this situation?,” or “How can I be an ambassador of God’s grace with the people in my life?”
The challenge for my heart is to truly believe that God has sent me to where I am for his purpose and for my good. If I’m sent, and if I’m called to be a missionary, a messenger of truth, then I have questions to ask. Did God put me where I am on accident? Or has he sent me to the people in my everyday life. Has he sent me to my co-workers, roommates, and daily faces on the street?
More and more I believe he has… and more and more I’m trying to live like he has. I have been sent into my world, my sphere of influence, to give God glory; to demonstrate and declare the kingdom of God.
May God lead us in our quest to live our lives completely for him.