For many years now, I’ve kept some form of an online blog as a place to let my journals overflow into the hands of my friends and family (and the occasional stranger). It’s been a strange experience to see the places those once-private thoughts have landed, but I believe that the Lord gives each of us stories of grace, redemption, hope, and imperfection that are longing to be told to display His glory. Since being back in Thailand over the past few months, I’ve found that my blog has stayed silent while I’ve hashed out my thoughts through my social media accounts. Despite many of my posts turning into mini-blogs, I’ve felt the stories crying out to be told fully, and so this week I’d like to invite you into the uncut versions of my social media feed, in hopes that the words of the Lord find you and lift up your weary or discouraged hearts.
Go Therefore, Missionary
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)
People are quick to attach the label “missionary” to me these days, and I’m not quite comfortable with it. The truth is, despite being a believer in a foreign country, which I guess helps me meet the requirements for “missionary,” I’m not really doing anything seriously different from what I did at home.
In America, “missionary” would hardly be on the list of words to describe my life, but now that I live in another country, it’s all too common to be described that way. If we’re going to call me a missionary, then can we please call you missionaries too? We may be separated by miles and oceans, but those miles and oceans do not make me any more or less of a missionary than you are.
The power of God is just as present in your life, in your church, in your small groups and in your faith as it is here. The presence of God is just as accessible – whether you are in small-town USA, the African bush, or a district of Bangkok.
There’s a huge misconception in that you have to get on a plane to be a missionary. You have to leave the country to be “on mission.” Here’s the truth: You don’t have to pack everything you own in a backpack and leave the country for life in a hut. You don’t have to leave America to serve Jesus and serve others. For a lot of you, you don’t even have to leave your own home to find a “mission field” to call your own.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned about my faith in the past couple of years running around the world with Jesus is this: you just have to be willing to say yes. The “where” is not the answer. The “Who” is.
It looks different for all of us, but most of the time I’ve found that “saying yes” looks like have conversations. It looks like saying yes to the awkward small talk that leads to building relationships. Saying yes to being the only one and risking looking silly. Saying yes to the possibility of failing miserably. Saying yes to rearranging your schedules and priorities, or to that Bible study you’re not sure about.
You don’t have to wait until you’re overseas or in a different city to live missionally. You don’t have to wait until a special event to invite a friend to church. You don’t have to wait until a scheduled service project to meet the needs of your community. You don’t have to wait until the clothes don’t fit anymore to donate them.
Maybe I’m speaking for myself, or maybe I’m speaking for more of us – but where does Scripture say “Wait until disaster strikes and then go into all nations,” or “Go make disciples of all nations that aren’t the nation you live in?” We must be going every time our feet hit the floor. Every interaction you have with another person, you are “going therefore.”
Go therefore to Target and make disciples. Go therefore to that delicious pizza place and make disciples. Go therefore to biology class and make disciples. Go therefore to the gym and make disciples. Go!