Many people, when they think of missionaries, picture something like this: hairy, dirty people who live in huts, wear outdated clothes, and eat things no one in his right mind would eat.
And because of that, before moving to Lomalinda, I had little interest in missionaries. I mean—they seemed so strange.
“Admit it, you’ve looked at missionaries speaking in your church and thought, ‘Hmmm . . . kind of . . . well, weird.’ No one wants to say it out loud, but it’s true.” (Bremers in Bolivia)
But I must confess:
Eventually, living and working
alongside missionaries in Lomalinda
would turn out to be a highlight of my life.
Those missionaries’ work was not for wimps—it was a mighty challenging vocation in numerous ways.
What motivated those Lomalindians to carry out that work? What should every missionary’s inspiration be?
Should they hope to earn their salvation?
No. Nobody earns salvation.
Should their motivation be appeasing God and averting His wrath?
Do they need to impress God?
Do they want to impress others? Do they want to make a holier-than-thou statement?
Should missionaries’ motivation be adventure?
No—although life on the mission field can include amazing adventures.
Should their incentive be to help backward cultures become more like us—civilized?
No, no, no!
If you were to ask someone—a trainee or a new recruit—why he wants to be a missionary, he might answer:
- I want to teach missionary kids, or
- I want to evangelize, or
- I want to be a church planter, or
- I want to serve as a doctor, nurse, or pilot, or
- I want to be a Bible translator or literacy specialist.
But those are not core reasons to become a missionary.
So what’s the most important reason for people to go to the mission field?
The answers could fill—and have filled—many books.
Ministers preach sermons, people pen articles and host podcasts, and authors craft devotionals, blog posts, and websites to inspire Christians to work on the mission field. Entire corporations exist to recruit personnel for the mission field.
But we need to sift through all those books and sermons and articles and podcasts and devotionals and blog posts and websites and organizations and find the starting point—the core reason to go to the mission field.
Can you think what it is?
Jesus stated the correct reason—the basis, the motivation, the springboard that propels people into all the other reasons—and many others—to work on the mission field.
Come back next week and we’ll continue to explore this topic.
Even if you’ll never work as a missionary,
the message applies to you and your everyday life, too—
to your very reason for being.
See you next week!