I am rather passionate when I speak about missions and I frequently get the question, “Are you saying that every Christian has to be a missionary?” That question makes me a little sad because it tells me something about the heart of the one that is asking.
When someone says, “Do I have to do that?” they reveal that the thing they are to do is something that they don’t want to do. The question shouldn’t be whether we have to be missionaries or even whether we get to be missionaries. Both of those questions make a judgment about what it would be like as a missionary, bad or good, and that isn’t the way that following Jesus works at all.
Jesus doesn’t call us to things that we like or to things that we dislike. He calls us to do what he wants and needs us to do. If he is lord of your life, then only he can be lord. Your feelings and preferences can’t be lord with him. You say “yes” to him first, and then ask him, “What is your request?”
Also, think about this. You don’t have to make all A’s to be a doctor. You just have to make at least a C. But what kind of doctor would aim for just C’s; for the bare minimum? Would you want to go to that doctor? She obviously isn’t interested in helping sick people. She became a doctor for the things that it could do for her, not for the things that she could do for others. That attitude is an insult to her patients that are paying her for health care services.
And, how about if, on the day you were married, your new spouse asked, “What is the bare minimum that I have to do in this marriage?” How would you feel if you heard that question? He obviously doesn’t love you; he just loves himself. The statement itself would be an insult to you.
If we ask questions like, “Do I have to be a missionary?” we are really asking Jesus, “What is the bare minimum that I have to do for you?” Do you see what an insult that is to the one who died for you? If He is our Lord, and we love him, then we are not looking to do the bare minimum. We are compelled from the inside to do our best for him in any way that we can.
You also can’t say that, “I don’t feel called to missions,” because your feelings aren’t relevant when your lord tells you what to do. On several occasions, Jesus did call and command his disciples to do missions–to take the gospel to all nations. I don’t now how an authentic disciple can wiggle out of, in some way, taking ownership of that command, or why they would want to.
For some of us, the best way that we can obey is for us to get out of our home country, go to a place that has never been evangelized, and get to work sharing the gospel. But, having done this for many years, I can tell you that us goers really need more prayer support, and I don’t mean a token prayer of “God bless the missionaries.” We need people to spend hours each month praying specifically for us and for unreached people groups. And, to be blunt, we need money, and lots of it. The cost of living is climbing in Asia and Africa, and the spread of the gospel, and the humanitarian work that we do, is greatly limited by the lack of funds.
Main point: The words, “No, lord,” are incompatible.
So what? In what way are you taking ownership of the Jesus’s command to make disciples of all nations?