Why would anyone want to be a missionary, Part 2

Why would anyone want to be a missionary? Well, this is the second installment of a multipart series that I am recording to answer that question. The last time we began with a couple of stories of awkward or unsavory circumstances that missionaries work themselves into. I told the story of putting our computers into the refrigerator of our Asian home because it got so cold in the house that the computer screens would freeze, and we knew that the warmest place in the house to keep them from freezing was in the refrigerator. John and I have stories of things that we have eaten and things that we have been served from all over the planet. John will tell you that horses can be delicious. He likes to make me tell a story, a comical story of circumstances, in which I was compelled to eat an eyeball one time on the mission field. The first time John and I were ever in Vietnam, we were walking along a series of shops, and we came across one particular shop that had cages on the sidewalk outside set up on little tables with bunny rabbits, turtles, snakes, cockroaches, scorpions, eels, fish, and many other creatures. John said, “Let’s go into this pet shop and check it out.” And I said, “John, that is not a pet shop; That’s a restaurant.”

This is who we are. This is what we do. Passion life is very unique in that we sit right at the intersection of pro-life work and global missions. Why would anyone want to be a missionary after hearing stories like that? Well, again, in this series we are giving multiple answers, and the last time the answer was this: God is a missionary God and his book, the Bible, is a missionary book. Today we have a different answer to that question. Today’s answer of why would anyone want to be a missionary is this: God has given us a beautiful mandate to fulfill his will for all the people. Let me say that again: God has given us a beautiful mandate to fulfill his will for all peoples.

I will break that down. What is a mandate? A mandate is not just a command. It’s more than a job or a task. A mandate is a responsibility. A responsibility that is being coupled with the authority and the resources that we need to successfully fulfill that responsibility. Does that make sense? The mandate is a responsibility coupled with the authority and the resources that we need to do it. The classic example of the missionary mandate is found in the Great Commission passage of Matthew 28, where Jesus says this to his disciples before he ascends into heaven:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.”

You hear the mandate there. The mandate is that God has given us a responsibility to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them. He gives us all the authority because all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus, and Jesus is with us to the very end of the age. We have access to all the authority and all the resources that we need to be able to fulfill this mandate. The work of Passion Life is fulfilling God’s mandate to go into the world and make disciples, teaching, and baptizing if necessary. We have not had to do that because we usually would rely on the local churches and the local pastors to do that, but we will baptize if we need to. We have done it before. The teaching that we provide is foundational in that it specifically brings the gospel of Jesus Christ to the issue of how it is that we treat human beings. Humans at the pre-born stage, at the extremely elderly stage, and how we treat humans all along the continuum of life, everywhere, at every point in between.That is the mandate part. God has given us this beautiful, exciting, dangerous, glorious mandate to fulfill his will for all people. And that is the second part: His will for all peoples.

Now what’s his will? His will for all peoples is that they all be reconciled to God the Father through the cross of Jesus Christ. By definition, God does not need us in order to get this done. He is God. He has no needs. However, his word makes clear that his chosen way of reconciling all the peoples of the world is by sending us, his church, to tell people about Jesus. Now he can do it without us, but he is not doing it without us. He is not using the stars and the trees and the majesty of his creation or what we would refer to as general revelation. He is not using any of that to bring masses of people into a salvific knowledge of him. He is doing that by sending us. This is where we get the famous Romans 10 passage that says:

“How will they call on the one in whom they have not believed and how will they believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how will they hear about him if no one preaches to them? And how can they preach unless someone sends them?

Here is our partnership with Passion Life: you are sending us. You are making it possible for us to go and preach, teach, baptize, if necessary, and fulfill the great commission. You pray for us. You donate your money to our organization so that together we can go out and take up this mandate to be used by God to bring all the nations into a saving knowledge that he freely gives through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

You know, God is working in this world. He is working powerfully. We go out and we see it. We get to see it all the time. We see people coming out of the darkness and the chains of guilt and grief and being set free by being brought into the glorious cleansing power of the light of the gospel. Why would anyone want to be a missionary? Well, today our answer is this: because God has given us a beautiful mandate to fulfill his will for all people. Many of the countries we go to where the abortion rates, the infanticide rates, and the genocide rates are exceptionally high are the most spiritually dark places on the planet. We are rescuing the most vulnerable in the places where the spiritual in need is the greatest. Join us, send us, pray for us, support us, and together we will take on God’s beautiful mandate to fulfill his will for all the people.

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