I have been wrong.
In the past, I thought I knew how missions should be done. I strongly felt that our time & resources had to be invested in personalities rather than on other things such as building structures because for past 20 years or so, I have seen too many empty buildings to justify their importance. I felt that what gave the early church mobility & effectiveness was the fact that it wasn’t bound by any structure or location. Therefore early Christians met, worshipped, and were able to go anywhere & be everywhere they needed to be. What brought gratitude to their hearts were God’s living Word & loving brothers & sisters in Christ, no matter what their circumstances were.
But now, I am beginning to understand the infinite wisdom & also how God uses people’s creativity in reaching out to people who are vastly different. It’s quite beautiful really. It’s like seeing a master artist at work using all colors & tools to bring life to his composition. All colors are important & all tools are needed.
There are missionaries who take on construction projects, drinking water projects or agricultural projects. There are those who are sharing Christ through teaching English. There are missionaries who are pursuing house church model or even a mega church model. There are Presbyterian missionaries as well as Pentecostal missionaries. There are tent makers, those who are involved in humanitarian efforts, people who are battling against human trafficking, aid widows & orphans, there are those bringing medical assistance to frightening places & so forth. I do not want to ponder too much on what would happen to our world if even one of these efforts is no longer. I am so grateful that all these missionaries have decided to listen & obey God’s calling for their lives.
We all have a different calling in life. As long as we are certain of His calling & faithful to it, it matters not what that is. What is essential in any missions endeavor & can never be effective without? I believe it is the love of Jesus Christ. We have to be motivated by the love of Christ to love those who are without Him. I think sometimes we who are in ministry & missions can be motivated by many things other than Christ. This doesn’t mean that Christ is completely out of the picture. It just means that our desire for achievement, success, approval & respect of people, affirmation of self-importance, significance, etc. become greater and take precedence to our motivation for doing.
But 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 clearly explains,
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
I guess what I am trying to say this week is that more than what I do, why & how I do it are more important in missions & ministry. It is only when those we reach out to are convinced that they are objects of love that the truth of Christ we speak be heard.