Many Christians have a wrong idea of what missions is.
Let’s clarify by stating that there is a difference between mission & missions. Mission refers to a task given & what one must fulfill. This is why we use terms & phrases like mission statement or mission impossible. But missions is something quite different.
The Great Commission according to Jesus is to GO & MAKE DISCIPLES of ALL NATIONS. Once someone becomes a disciple, he will make public profession of his faith in Christ by being baptized, but not stopping there, he will continue to grow & live out God’s truth in obedience.
This is what missions is. It is going & making disciples of all nations. When we do it within our own nation, it’s called evangelism. Therefore missions & evangelism refer to the same call that Christ has made to all believers. The only difference is our destination.
- Both are needed.
- Both are essential parts of Christianity.
- Both require GOING.
I believe the going aspect of life is one of the hardest things. Approaching someone that you are interested in, going to a gym after a long period of hiatus, entering a room full of strangers, going to reconcile with someone… these all bring degrees of anxiety & fear caused by the uncertainty of the outcome. In other words, GOING IS A RISK.
But let me say (I’m sure you will agree with me on this point) that it is only when we take that risk that we will ever achieve the desires of our hearts. This is why we continue to go despite risks, barriers & common sense.
There will be times that you will second guess your decision to go, but there will also be times when your heart soars due to the dividends that risk taking has brought.
Monday the 8th here in Taiwan is a national holiday to celebrate Moon Festival. It’s a time where families distant & close return home for the weekend. And the full moon symbolizes happiness & joy that family reunion brings. Traditionally, it’s a time for moon cakes, pomelo & BBQ. Last Saturday, we were invited by our new Taiwanese church to celebrate Moon Festival with them, and it was truly a joyous time of fellowship with our Taiwanese brothers & sisters in Christ.
The food was wonderful, of course, but as we were interacting & connecting with our Taiwanese believers, everything made sense. It brought much clarity to why we have come. It is to make disciples of so many Taiwanese who are not in the church. They are living in culture saturated in animism, Buddhism & folk religion. They may seemingly serve their own purpose, but they will never lead them to life eternal.
The beauty of Jesus’ call is that the harvest field is ready for us, we just need to GO. Where has God been prompting you to go? To your unbelieving family members, to your neighbors or to that person who seems to be the least likely candidate to be Jesus’ disciple? If we don’t go, then disciples cannot be made & we are not living as Christ commands us.
Everyone in my family had such a blessed time grilling, eating & laughing despite our limited Mandarin. Sometimes I wonder which language we will be speaking in heaven, but I don’t think it matters for as disciples of Christ, we will be speaking His language. Last Saturday was a reminder of heaven and our hearts soared!
We have one more good news! We finally purchased a car. Cars are more expensive in Taiwan compared to the U.S. because they are imported. And with our limited budget, we had to be flexible in our choice. By the way, I do want to explain that an automobile was not part of our missions budget. It’s money that we got from selling our 2 cars back home. The car that we ended up buying is a 2007 Suzuki because we found that cars under 5 years old were beyond our budget. But I have to say that we love our little car! We had just 2 criteria: reliability & smallness since parking is difficult. Although 5 of us can fit, it will be better once our oldest goes off to college. Not that we’re waiting.
So far missions has been an ongoing process of seeing & understanding God’s heart, but also seeing his gracious hand embracing & guiding us. These are what we could never have experienced if we hadn’t gone/come to where God has called us.