The Harvest

Today I want to talk about missions and missionaries. I feel it is appropriate, considering this weekend is World Mandate, a missions conference held each year in Waco. It is a part of the body of Antioch Community Church, and features several amazing speakers and incredible worship, breakout sessions, and a ministry fair. World Mandate totally rocked my world last year, which was right as I was first coming to know Jesus, so I can't imagine how much more I will be impacted this year now that I have matured in my faith.

But on the topic of missions, I feel strongly like missions are not a calling for everyone. I know a lot of people feel like if you are a Christian then you should be doing missions, but I do not believe this to be true. In Matthew 9:37-38, Jesus talks concerning this: "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." I think it is pretty amazing that Jesus did not say to the disciples to be the worker to be sent out; Jesus had other plans for them, to disciple them further to prepare them for apostleship. He simply asks the disciples to pray for missionaries to be sent out.

Now I don't want you to misunderstand me; this is not intended to say that missions are unimportant, or that you shouldn't be doing missions. It is quite the opposite really, for after Jesus rose from the dead, he gives us the Great Commission: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." So Jesus is pretty clear, he wants us to go, to share the name of Christ to all the unreached peoples of the earth. In fact, the end of Time, when Christ returns to this earth, will not ever happen until every nation on earth has heard the Gospel. Matthew 24:14, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." Not only that, but in 2 Peter, we are told that we can have an impact on when Jesus comes back: "You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming." (2 Peter 3:11-12).

SO to me, that is pretty huge. God saw our sin and our need for a savior, and in response he sent his son Jesus Christ to this earth, to live a wholly sinless life and die a sinner's death on the cross, the death we all deserve. But His great love for us brought Christ back from the dead, and with it everyone who believes in Jesus with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength will be risen from being dead in our sins as well. And once we have received salvation, we are then called to be God's mouthpiece, making disciples and sharing the love of Jesus with everyone we meet, telling everyone just how changed we have become as a result of inviting Christ into our lives. If you truly love Jesus, then nothing will be able to stop you from talking about Him, because he is just so GOOD!

But going back to Matthew 9, we are not told directly to be the missionary to be sent into the field. Sometimes God has great plans for us just where we are. We might be called to be a missionary in our hometown; maybe the people there are living in a state of sin, claiming to be Christians but are wholly unsaved because they have never heard the true word of God. Maybe you are being called to work in the inner city, to preach Jesus to the impoverished, the homeless, to drug addicts, to prisons; no one is too far gone to be redeemed by the blood of Christ. Maybe God is calling you to be a pastor, or a worship leader, or a discipler of your local church. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these things; God has called you to your purpose and you are faithfully living out His purposes in your life.

However, just because you don't want to do missions does not mean that you are not being called to missions. God often used people who feel sorely unequipped for a task, because He wants them to learn to lean on God alone for strength and the skills necessary to do this. Look at Moses, who tried everything he could to not be the leader of the nation of Israel when being freed from slavery in Egypt. But he was able to eventually deny himself and bow completely to God's will, and he went on to write the first 5 books of the Bible and lead an entire nation for 40 years as they roamed the desert and conquered the sinful people of Canaan. So as long as you are willing to let God direct your life, anything can happen, and you could potentially do anything if that is God's will for you.

Now I just wand to end this by saying that as of yet I have not felt called to do any missions around the world. His past year I had to opportunity to go to Fort Collins Colorado for Revive over spring break, and I had the opportunity to go to he Dominican Republic for the summer, but in each case I just never felt called to be there. However, Antioch is a strongly missions-based church body, having something like 60 churches planted around the world since it began around ten years ago in Waco. So much has happened this past year, and I have felt called to do so much that I would have never imagined myself doing before, so anything can happen. I am going to keep myself open to hearing God's voice, and if He calls me to do missions, then I will go. I am not going to let my own fears and doubts stand in the way of God's mighty plan for my life. But in the end, I do believe missions to be a calling, not an obligation. God's plan for my life is not he same as his plan for yours.