When I was in college, I really started asking God what He had in mind for me to do with my very unique set of skills that I was working on developing. I was studying to be a French teacher, and as much as I loved using my talents in learning the language, I wasn’t sure how it was going to be useful to the Kingdom of God.
One day I remember very specifically having a light bulb moment where I thought “Duh! Missionary! I could be a missionary!” And while I thought about and prayed about it, I never felt that that was how God was leading and directing my life.
When I met Matt, he was a well-traveled missionary-trip man. He told me something very similar – as much as it seemed like a logical step, it didn’t seem like the step that God had for him to do.
It was through a 5 week mission trip that God really started to put an outline on what He would lead us to do – missionary and pastoral care (you can read more of that cool and amazing story here).
In the Great Commission in Matthew 28, we are instructed to “Go and make disciples of all nations…” We each have a role to play in this commissioning that Jesus gave to us. We all have a part to play.
John Piper has said there are three reactions to the Great Commission – Goers, Senders, and the Disobedient. (From Driving Convictions for Foreign Missions.)
God has called and equipped men and women to be Goers – to be the ones on the front lines all over the world.
And for those of us who do not feel that pull on our hearts and lives, we still have work to do:
- We need to be salt and light in our work places, homes, communities – everywhere we go, we need to bring God’s light of truth with us.
- We need to be Senders. We need to support the Goers. Financially. Prayerfully. We need to have them over for dinner. Watch their kids. Be their friends. Send them care packages with their favorite snacks from “home” while they’re in the field.
I think both of those parts are necessary to be obedient. I don’t think we can say “Well, I send so-and-so a check so I’m doing my part. I’m good.” Or “I started a Bible study at work. I can’t help the missionaries.”
As with so many other things, it’s a heart issue. If our lives are a reflection of Christ in us, then these things go hand-in-hand and are not in competition with one another.
So let’s think about how many different mission organizations and missionaries we hear about in any given year. What if that number is 10? Can you pray for 10 missionaries? Yes. Pray for them right away and then whenever they come to mind.
Can you invite 10 missionaries or mission organization representatives over for dinner? Yes. Maybe not all on the same night but if you’re feeling adventurous and have the folding chairs, go for it.
Can you babysit the kids of 10 different missionaries? Probably. Some may not have kids. Some may have family close by covering that particular need for them. But offer. Just offering can be a gift.
Can you be friends with 10 different missionaries? Sure. It’s possible that you’ll click with all 10 of them forming life-long friendships. It’s much more likely you’ll click with one or two of them and become their friends. Then it gets to be more fun and life-giving to have them over for dinner or watch their kids.
Can you send care packages to the missionaries that you become friends with? Well, sure. As you get to know them, you’ll learn different things that they like or have a craving for sometimes. Put it in a box and ship it off once or twice a year (I’d shoot for a couple months after furlough, but that’s just a thought.
Can you financially support 10 different missionaries? I don’t know your budget. But I do know that you can get pretty creative with money. Could you host a garage sale or bake sale and give the missionaries the proceeds? Could you buy their groceries? Or gas? Could you give $5 a month? Could you ask for money in place of presents at birthdays or Christmas to support a certain mission or missionary project?
Can you do all of these things while you are faithful to being salt and light on your home front? Yes, you can. And it will have an impact on your home front as well.
I don’t think that you’ll wake up tomorrow and be able to do each and every one of these things without feeling burned out. But little by little, you’ll see opportunities to grow and change and step into being a Sender in mighty ways.
As I said before, the third option after going and sending is disobedience. We all have a part to play in the Great Commission.
It is my joy to explore all that I can do to support the Goers as I work as a Sender.
What ways do you find to be a Sender? Share your ideas in the comments!