Thursday, September 16, 2010

Missions in the Mundane

I have had many conversations like this following one with many of my Jesus-loving friends (and I have been on both ends of the conversation):

"How was [fill in country of choice]?"

"It was amazing! We went to [fill in place], we did [fill in life-changing experiences], we ate [exotic foods], and I love the people there so much! I don't even want to be here. I wish I could be back there."

I love having those conversations. It refreshes me to see my friends changed and excited from an experience that they had serving our Lord. I brings back memories of past mission trip experiences and adds excitement to my future ambition of serving Christ in the least-reached areas of the world.

The reaction most of us have to being home bothers me though. Why is it that the gospel was so exciting there, yet at home things seems "spiritually dead?" Each of us must search our hearts and ask ourselves if it is really the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is exciting to us or the adventure of going on a mission trip.

Please allow me a moment to clarify before I continue. I am pro-missions. In fact, I plan on devoting most of my life toward that very cause. I am also not saying that everybody who is or wants to be involved in missions fits a certain description or that I don't fall into the very trap that I am about to describe.

With that being said, this is what I have observed time and time again, both in my own experience and the experiences of my friends. S/he spends a year raising funds for a trip. S/he talks to his/her local church, friends, and family. Time is devoted in prayer to this trip. A month is spent in intimate community and evangelism in a foreign culture. It is the most exciting and fulfilling time of that person's life. S/he comes back from the trip and finds it difficult to share Christ at home.

We must never forget that our passion is not founded on missions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Missions is simply an outcome of a love for God in reaction to the His Gospel and only exists because the world is temporarily void of that passion. That means that the gospel is just as real and as penetrating in the mundane as it is in a foreign country. And if one can't glory in Christ and share His message of hope at home, how does that same person expect that to change overseas? If someone can't love a person who annoys her/him at home, how will she/he love someone who wants to take her/his life for preaching the gospel?

We must find our excitement and joy in Jesus Christ, who was killed for our transgressions and risen from the dead in order that we may have life in Him. That remains true in every walk of life (yes, even in America).

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