What images come to mind when you hear the word ‘mission’? For some, it’s Tom Cruise dangling from a carbon-fibre wire, for others it’s a picture of helping the poor in a developing world country.
As Christians, the idea of being ‘on mission’ can so easily be seen as courageous individuals travelling the globe and winning millions to Jesus. There are a few people who actually do this and it’s incredibly inspiring to hear about, but it can be rather unhelpful – we start to assume that this is the only way mission works!
The idea of ‘overseas’ mission comes primarily from the New Testament command to ‘go into all the world and preach the Gospel’. But all too often we can focus on going into any other part of the world but our own, missing out on the adventures that God has for us beyond our front door. It’s not a new idea! Take a look…
‘But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare’ Jeremiah 29:7
At this particular time the Israelites were forced to live in Babylon, a pagan and blood-thirsty city where they were the outsiders. Look closely though, the fact that God said, ‘I have sent you into exile’ means God had a purpose for His people in Babylon even though they were far from home.
What was true for the Israelites remains true for us today! God has placed us where he wants us, from rural village to bustling city.
Mission begins just beyond your garden fence, and God wants you to embrace that ‘mission field’ whether you feel at home or are itching to be elsewhere
But what can you do? In Jeremiah 29 it speaks of seeking ‘the welfare of the city’ – this is about doing things in your community, school or neighbourhood that helps to make it a better place.
In Babylon, it was God’s plan for the Israelites to integrate themselves into the culture – not so they would become like the Babylonians, but so they would understand the culture, love the people and earn their trust and respect. The Old Testament is filled with stories like this!
God’s method remains the same today. He has given us gifts and talents to be used for His glory. Many of these are shared by those who don’t know God.
God has equipped you for mission by giving you unique skills. Whether it’s in music, business or cleaning – your skills can be used to reach those whom God is calling to Himself!
At MAF, our pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers and accountants use their specific skills in remote places throughout the world to enrich communities and provide a vital, life-saving service. But their serving God didn’t begin there! They didn’t discover their skills when they landed in a foreign land. Mission starts now!
So what are you good at? Go and do it! Go and make friends with those with mutual talents and passions. If you’re unsure, then ask God. Ask Him for clarity in what He wants you to do and how to use the talents He’s given you to influence your world for His glory.
It may seem a small thing, but if we are faithful with little, God will give us more. Who knows what adventures will unfold?