Go Into All The World | Mark’s Remarks
Someone said something recently that resonated with me.
She said something to the effect that mission work was not about standing among a group of less fortunate people and posing for a picture. Indeed, there are many people who think mission work is about going into poor areas of our world, building things, feeding people, and singing songs. Sure, that’s a big part of the mission work. But there is much more.
Mission work is about sharing God’s love for us, showing how lives have and can be transformed. If you have a group of people who come into an area, engage very little with the people of that area, build a few buildings, do a few other good deeds, and pose for a picture before leaving, never to return again, it’s hard to bring the message of God’s love across.
People who go on mission trips must have a calling to go. They should know they are going to do things that may be unpleasant, uncomfortable, and strange. And they have to be willing to do those things. Mission trips can involve strange smells, unusual foods, and bizarre customs.
One group I know of befriended the village witch doctor and risked having a “curse” placed on them. However, because they continued to keep coming back, year after year, this man eventually warmed to them and allowed them to tell him of the gospel and the love of Christ. It was a huge step for him to even listen to them. I have not heard anything recently about this man, but I’d bet the group who visit him continue to make connections year after year.
And that’s what mission work is really all about. People need to know you will keep coming back. People need to know you will hug folks who are dirty, feed and help people who are ungrateful; just as we can be dirty and ungrateful.
People need to know that those doing mission work will talk to them, again and again, sincerely caring about their lives. People need to see missionaries being their friends; friends they can count on. Mission work is all about the relationship.
I don’t want anyone to misunderstand. I’m not saying the mission groups I know of are better than any others. But I am saying that mission work is so much more than about just doing things, although the work and the hands on stuff is a huge thing. As I said, it’s all about forging and continuing relationships; showing how God wants a relationship with us through His Son.
Mission work, I believe, should also be something that is talked about very little by the person doing the work.
Missionaries should not expect accolades for the work that they do. After all, God called us all to be missionaries.
Some people have said they have to work a lot to provide for their families and therefore are unable to do mission work far away. I completely understand that, because I’ve used that excuse many times and continue to use it. My summer schedule, the fact that I’m the breadwinner for my family; these are my common excuses. I don’t have a week or two to jet off to far away lands.
On one of those points, I will tell you I’ve seen God do miraculous things when He calls people to go on mission. He has rearranged schedules and even caused people to lose a job, only to find something better a few weeks later. I’ve seen a mission trip get paid for completely by anonymous donors. So you see, if God calls you to go, any obstacle can be taken care of if you are willing.
For those who don’t feel they can go far away, well, I’ve also seen people start locally. There are Christian activity centers in poor neighborhoods that need missionaries. Food can be carried in, activities can be planned and carried out.
There really are endless opportunities.
There are also mission opportunities right next door. Helping someone with even small tasks can be considered mission work, when we have relationships and show God’s love. When we share the message of Jesus Christ. When we make ourselves available and show we are people who can be counted on.
Now that I’ve written such a “soapbox” column, I’m going to have to step up my game with mission work. It’s been on my heart lately, and it’s funny how God speaks to you and prompts you to take action.
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15