You know what you have in common with missionaries?
We’re all sent.
Jesus wasn’t just talking to His disciples when He said, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). And Paul was certainly talking about all of us when he wrote that “we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Why’d Paul write ambassador instead of representative? Because we’re all sent.
One difference between the average believer and missionaries is that missionaries have received specialized training in being a sent one.
So, here are some things missionaries know that will help you serve Him well.
Know your goal and keep it in mind.
Your goal as a sent believer is to “make disciples wherever you go.” That may sound like a paraphrase, but it’s actually a pretty accurate way of translating Matthew 28:19. That is the goal of every missionary. It’s also your goal as a believer sent by God, and it’s always your goal.
You may think your goal is to provide for your family or to keep the house clean. (Or if you have children, to keep it habitable. Or toddlers, to keep everyone alive until they grow out of this.) You might get in the car and think your goal is to get to work or to the store. On vacation? Maybe it seems like the only goal is to relax.
That’s wrong. Always, everywhere you go, your goal is to make disciples. You’re sent. Live it. Know your goal and keep it in mind.
Remember your goal is all about relationships. It’s through your relationship with Christ that you are able to learn and grow and serve, and it’s true in disciple-making as well. You can’t do this. But God can do this through you. So, keep your relationship with Christ strong. Pray. Read and study His Word. Listen and obey. And no, two out of three doesn’t cut it.
Disciple-making itself is about building a relationship. You have to bridge that gap to reach another person. Just as missionaries must learn another language and understand someone else’s culture in order to communicate effectively, so must you. And you do that through building a relationship with them.
That relationship isn’t done when you’ve introduced them to Jesus. It’s just the beginning. You’ll be their first guide in the long journey of discovering joy in the abundant, eternal life of following Christ.
Understand that the cost is everything.
Too many believers go through life thinking that someday God may ask something hard of them and they just have to be willing. Why? Because once God knows they’re willing, it’ll be like it was when Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac—He just wants to know you’re willing and then He’ll take care of it and you don’t have to do anything.
Missionaries know that Jesus didn’t mince words about the cost of following: everything. Jesus kept driving crowds away with lines like “take up your cross” and “he who would save his life must lose it.” Only a few stuck with Him: the few who would come to be known as the apostles — literally, the sent ones. And it did cost them everything.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that I mean they died for Him. Long before they ever died for Him, they lived for Him and for Him alone. Everything in their lives that was not
part of their goal—making disciples—fell away.
I suppose there were times they missed things. I imagine Peter sometimes thought how much simpler (not easier, but less complex) his life had been as a fisherman. Paul may have at times looked back wistfully—briefly—at those days when he was a Pharisee, and everything was spelled out in black and white. Matthew perhaps missed the wealth afforded him as a tax collector.
But in spite of everything they gave up, all the hardships they endured and the tumult of opposition they faced, they knew in the end that following Christ was worth everything. They were willing to die for Him because they knew how to live for Him.
What about you, sent one of our Lord? Will you keep the goal in mind? Will you build the right relationships? Will you go all in? He’s worth it, and you don’t have to take my word for it. Take His.