“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-10
Ah, the missional verse, the verse heard round the world as a call to international missions. While I greatly appreciate, love and pray for those folks called to the remotest parts of the world, I believe the enemy has used this verse, and international missions, to make the American church stall out here on the home-front.
How many times have you heard, or maybe yourself have thought, “I’ll follow God but I won’t go to Africa”? How many times has a missionary come to speak at a church and you walked out the door feeling thankful that God called them to missions and not you? How often have you felt like you’re meeting the Great Commission indirectly because you support an international missionary? How much value, if any at all, do you place on an urban or local missionary here in the United States? Do you consider yourself a missionary?
See, Jesus didn’t call out a couple of the disciples to be missionaries and the rest to be support. He didn’t tell us to elevate the international missionary and barely even recognize that urban/local missionary. He didn’t tell us that there is more value in a life that is reached in a remote location over one reached at a beach on the West Coast. Missional work is work for all of us regardless of where we are physically located.
Do you know what missionaries do when they are in a foreign country? They get a job, get into the community, build relationships and pray that God shows them how to reach people for Christ. They don’t ride in to a small village on a white horse, shower people with the gospel and watch thousands give their lives to Christ in a moment. They take whatever work skill they already have and put it to use in a community and seek opportunity to share their stories with those they are around. Guess what, that’s all of us every single day!
You are a missionary in your work place. You absolutely should be praying every morning, “Lord, today show me where I can share my story and draw people to you”. Jesus’ words in Matthew 28 start out with go. In the original text, this word (poreuthentes) means “having gone” or, “go, and as you are going”. As you are going about your normal routine in your normal community, make disciples. Making disciples is simply sharing your life, sharing your story and sharing your faith. It’s not up to you to save people, it’s up to you to show people who Jesus is and He will save them.
Yes, there is definitely a vocation called, “missionary”, and I wouldn’t want to discredit that vocation in any way. However, I believe that at least here in America, the enemy has used the vocation of missionary to get us to stop believing that the Great Commission is given to all of us. We are all called to go into our worlds and share Christ. Are you doing that? Do the people who know you outside of church know that you are a Christian? I love the question that I see float around now and then, “If you were taken to court for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
Pray for opportunities to share your story and your faith. Pray for ways to open your home to people to come and share life together. Pray for ways to meet the needs of the people around you. Don’t abdicate your role as a receiver of the Great Commission because you believe you aren’t a missionary, you are.