You will recall that last month, we discussed the topic of missions. It seems appropriate–especially with the dawn of a new year–to continue in and expand on that expansive subject matter. More specifically, where the mission begins.
We won’t pretend that we’ll be breaking any new theological ground, but rather we’ll examine how we can combat that dangerous idealism that can make any Ministry Maker “put the cart before the horse”.
In other words, while the idea of the “mission field” conjures up images of impoverished tribes in far off lands, is that where you are being called now, or at all? It can oftentimes be easier to be a missionary where no one knows you, or in a destination you always dreamed of. But, what about those stubborn family members? What about the impoverished and at-risk youth from the bad neighborhood a few blocks away? What about your coworkers?
Don’t misunderstand; if God has called you to a specific mission field–your Judea and Samaria, as it were–by all mean, go. However, in terms of building a ministry, being practical in spite of your wildest dreams can be a great start.
Take for instance, Fred DeLuca, founder of Subway. At a time when he was seeking to become a doctor–and a way to pay for his school bills–DeLuca opened up his first shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut. I’m sure your stomach can fill in the gaps of the DeLuca’s sandwich success.
The point here is twofold. Sometimes our ministry or mission field can manifest itself in unexpected ways. On the other hand, we may already know our calling, but because of its “close to home” nature, it can be more intimidating.
While your burgeoning ministry may not have global status, it can still have an eternal impact in your own neighborhood.
In terms of missions, we often find ourselves in the sandals of Moses. When commanded to bear witness on the Lord’s behalf in a place we called home, to people who know our flaws, we find ourselves stammering and doubting.
“But Moses said to the LORD, ‘Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’”
Despite his doubting, the Lord simply reassured Moses.
“Then the LORD said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.’”
If your next door neighbor, or even your family member is a part of the mission field that you have yet to attempt to harvest, know that the Lord will provide the words and the teachings, if you go.