by: Matt Alexander
Our church, like most, has been in a season of taking short term mission trips this summer. These trips have consisted of working alongside local and global partners who are accomplishing great things for the kingdom. It has been a joy to see what God is doing through his faithful servants all across the world. As a pastor, I sometimes hear people ask why we do missions?
I once heard John Piper say that, "Missions exists because worship does not." How true that is! I am firm believer that we should live on mission beginning with our neighbor next door but when God calls us to go we must be willing to go wherever He leads. We can not dismiss local missions because we love to travel to another culture but neither can we dismiss global missions because it is "too costly." The reason we must do both is because in all places across the globe people are living out their every day lives apart from God.
We were created to worship God alone and when that's not happening a missional force must enter the picture to help show the way. I think Matthew 28 is clear that Jesus has commissioned every believer to live on mission for his kingdom. There is no way that we can faithfully follow Jesus and not be concerned about lost souls. It's so easy to show up at church and "worship" in a comfortable atmosphere and continue to do what is easy but we must not call that Christ-centered discipleship. At best it is just plain disobedience to our Holy God who deserves so much more.
In my years of ministerial service I have heard a wide variety of opinions on the issue of missions. It has always struck me as funny but very disheartening that such opinions exist on something that Jesus has already commanded us to do - go to ALL people. I don't think he left room for our opinions. There are things in our walk with God that we have to pray about before receiving an answer but sharing the Gospel at home and abroad is not one of them. Jesus has already commanded it in scripture and history proves that he is not likely to change his mind today.
A heart that questions whether or not missions should happen in this place or that place is a heart that is not yielded to the superiority of God and his word. Missions must take place everywhere because lost souls cover the planet and the sad reality is that if they remain lost they will spend an eternity in hell separated from God. Quite frankly - the financial cost of missions nor any other sacrifice is ever "too much" if it means a lost soul is saved from an eternal hell. After all, isn't the call of Jesus a call of sacrifice?
So...perhaps next time we are tempted to ask "Why missions?" we instead ask "How can I be used in missions?" The first question has already been answered in God's Word; the second will be answered as the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart. The answer will never be - you are exempt from missions.
God wants to lead us all on missions every day of our lives. In fact, the only way we can stand before him one day and hear "well done" is if we live a surrendered, missional life. Faithfulness to Jesus without missional service is impossible.
You needed Jesus and someone shared him with you - today someone else needs Jesus and you just might be the agent God uses.
That's why missions!