Do you crave adventure?
For some, the answer to this question is a resounding “YES! Send me, send ME!” For others – like me – the answer is more like, “No…. not really…. I like it right here.”
Wherever you fall on this spectrum, from eager explorer to happy homebody, Jesus has a message for you:
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
John 20:21 (NIV)
Honestly, that last bit scares me. Sending me? Where? As a follower of Jesus, I’m committed to following His plan. As an introvert, I fervently hope His plan is mostly made up of me staying home with my nose in a book.
I remember attending church as a teenager with my significant other (who is now my husband) and his family. Like many good Christian churches, they sponsored mission trips and missionaries throughout the year in various places around the world. Whenever a missionary returned from a trip, he or she was met with a sense of wonder. Everyone was awed by the sacrifices made by the missionaries, who often worked in impoverished, third-world conditions. The longer the trip, the more desolate the location, the more admiration (it seemed) the missionary had earned.
I was most definitely among the awestruck. It must take such courage to pack up the life you’ve led and immerse yourself so totally in foreign surroundings, trusting that you’ve understood God’s message and that you’re fulfilling it correctly. How awesome to be that sure in your faith. I remember praying to God asking him to give me back that “childlike” faith that the missionaries had, that I felt I no longer had.
And I needed His help with that, because as much as I wanted to trust in God’s plan, whatever it was, I was pretty sure that if He called me to go on a mission trip and leave behind everything I knew, he’d have to send a whale to swallow me and bring me there.
Most churches in North America are not missional. Rather, they are focused on their existing congregations. Missionaries are viewed almost as a unique sub-group within the church, having been called to do something drastic with their lives.
But here’s the thing: Jesus is sending me. Us. His church. Christianity as a whole. The very essence of the church is rooted in the missionary nature of God. God sends. We see it over and over. He even sent His son.
So let us ask a question that has been asked by many before us: to whom have you been sent?
That’s a question that even the introverts among us can answer. Take a minute to think about it. What do you think your “mission field” could be? What is God putting on your heart? And what would you do about it if you knew you couldn’t fail?
We’ve all been called to something. God has a purpose for each and every one of us, and for most of us it probably won’t necessitate international travel. We can, and should, be missionaries for God right where we are. That might be just the starting point for you before you move on to something on a grander scale, or your mission might simply be to show God’s love to the people He’s already put in your life. Whatever it is, I pray that we can be fearless in pursuit of God’s mission for us.