MISSIONARY SURVIVAL GUIDE #27: MISSION=LIFE

safe_image.php“Can you tell me what the Bible says about being a good father?”

Whoa.  Every eye in my advanced business English class was fixed on the individual, including mine.  Mouth open, eye brow arched, voice stuttering: it wasn`t the depth of the question that had momentarily confused my wits, but rather its place in a discussion that I was pretty sure had been about Japanese regional cuisine up until that point.  Nevertheless, I started with Jesus, the living God in flesh serving as a perfect vision of what a man can be, and led the student through a summary of biblical wisdom and stewardship as detailed in Proverbs.

6a00d8341ce0e353ef011570317fb7970c-600wiIn heaven, God is overwhelmingly real to every creature there, they hardly need any reminders to keep the holy One front and center.  However, down here on earth, with its constant distractions, dangers and disappointments, we as brethren in Christ cannot falter in reminding one another of this crucial truth: the mission is our life and our life is the mission.  What does this mean?  Simply put, you are an ambassador for Christ in and out of the church doors.  It doesn`t matter if you are standing in a pulpit wearing a suit, wading down a river to visit a mountain tribe or meeting a coworker for lunch at that new place on the corner: the wall that separates humanity from God has been torn down, the sin debt paid for with the broken body of His Son on a cross.  This message has stood the test of time, and 2000 years later it still cries out to every creature, no matter their background: `come freely and drink in living water, water that heals and sustains, that perfectly reflects His will for your life.`

Me trying "Basashi", raw horse meat...

Me trying “Basashi”, raw horse meat…

The missionary can excel at living this because they have pledged to give not only a Sunday or an evening bible study, but their daily life.  That is what happens when you stand as an example of a Christian in a place where none may be found.  A morning jog down a dirt road, a soak in a public bathhouse, teaching a new language under the watch of curious eyes, eyes that may be pondering much more than you realize.  Any of these instances and more can blossom into fruitful ministry.  Is it any different from our Lord Himself?  Most of Jesus` time was spent teaching on hilltops, dining with tax collectors and fishing with His disciples, His friends.  Life.  This is what God has wanted from the beginning: Himself in our everyday life–and make no mistake, those that we proclaim Christ to will expect nothing less.  So, why not join that fireworks festival?  A BBQ by the Yangtze river you say?  I`m there.  Even taking a volunteer job to help mend a home destroyed in a flood can open otherwise locked doors of communication.

A local Siheyuan entrance.

A local Siheyuan entrance, Beijing hutong.

Maybe you say, “…but I`m not a missionary”.  Well, if you belong to Christ then you no longer belong to the ideologies and cravings of this world.  A new creation in His eyes you are, with a home being prepared even now.  Your walk with Him deepens, you feel your desires changing.  The company you kept before, the jokes you told, the books and films that entertained you in the past; something is just different now.  By God`s grace, by the sealing of His Holy spirit in your chest, you are now a foreigner in the earth, in your neighborhood, in your school, on your job.  You are a pilgrim ready to return home.  Be prepared to take some folks with you.

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