When studying at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, I was elected president of Missionary Union, the largest student mission organization at Bible schools in the nation. Sounds pretty impressive! And, in many ways, none having to do with me, it was. There were numerous prayer groups, all focused on a particular country, region of the world or ethnic/religious identity. Each focus group met daily for prayer and weekly to hear more about their area of concentration. Our board met monthly, chaired by yours truly.
What’s ironic is that I never felt called to the mission field. As a young believer, I wondered if God wanted me to do so. Shaking like a leaf that He’d say ‘yes’, I’m scared witless that I’d have to live in a ramshackeled tent in some far-off wasteland. Fear not, it’s to the pastorate I’m called!
When reading Luke 3, I’m amazed at what happens. John the Baptist is preaching about the Kingdom of God and the need for repentance. Getting right with God, first of all. And people do…in droves and throngs.
But they wonder what’s next (v. 10). Must be more. Become a disciple of John the Baptist? For some. Off to the desert with the Essenes? Maybe for a few. To the mission field? Good question.
To some in the crowd, John the Baptist spells out the need to be generous and to share. With another, a tax-collector, John replies that he should only receive taxes of the proper amount. No padding or taking bribes. Be honest… for a change. To soldiers, known for aggressive actions to a captive population, John observes that their lives must be free of coercion, graft and extortion. And, by all means, be content with what you earn.
All should be missionaries? Some may receive that call. But, for everyone, then and now, you and me, do what you do with honesty, care and love for one’s neighbors. Think about someone else’s needs. Focus on who you are in what you do. Put godly character into your calling.
And give. Dig deep…for missions, near home and around the world. Neighbors are boundless. It’s a big world out there, all needing to know of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. That’s a mission call for all of us!
Lord, may we be generous for Jesus’ sake. Amen.