Jesus: The Perfect Missionary

(c) Jovanna Penney Photography

In our very first Women of Valor blog post, Military as a Mission Field, we argued that the military should be viewed as a mission field. Now I want to delve a little deeper…why is it that we do not automatically view the military as a mission field? Why do we not take the commands of King Jesus as seriously as we do commands from our Commander in Chief or even our unit-level Commander? For me, the answer is multi-faceted:

  • We don’t have a proper understanding of what it means to be a missionary. We fail to study Jesus’ life as the perfect missionary example.
  • We don’t display the proper urgency when it comes to sharing the Gospel in accordance with the Great Commission which was given to us by Jesus: “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.” We forget (or chose to ignore) versus like Matthew 9:37 “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” We do not take seriously the fact that Jesus Christ is coming SOON and when He comes again, he will bring judgement on all who do not know Him: “Stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matthew 24:42-44
  • We doubt the power of the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. We let our fear of judgment and rejection by others control us and prevent us from sharing the Gospel.
  • The idea of being a missionary makes us uncomfortable! And we want to be comfortable. We justify not being missionaries by telling ourselves that this is “other people’s calling, not ours” and then we go about our daily lives, never thinking about Christ…until Sunday morning. Yes, it is true that some of us may not be called to move to another country in order to share the Gospel, but how often do we take seriously the call to be a missionary in our own community and country?
  • We segregate our lives and fail to view all things through the lens of the Gospel. We focus all of our time and energy on things that are temporal and fleeting instead of investing in eternal souls.
  • We find our identity in other things. We think there is a greater calling on our life than what Jesus has commanded us to do – to go and make disciples of all nations. We think we can improve the world in other ways, that we can make a difference in this world apart from Christ. We forget that any good in us was a gift from our Father.
  • We are paralyzed by indecision about what we should do with our lives when the Bible is clear about what our calling should be.
  • We use the excuse that it is not “appropriate” to share the Gospel in the workplace to justify our lack of boldness or cover up our fear.

It is clear that we consistently fail to live up to the mission that Jesus has tasked each and every one of us with.

In perfect contrast to our consistent failure to live as a missionary, Jesus perfectly fulfilled the mission given to him by His Father – “I[Jesus] glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:10). In fact, it is precisely because of our failure to obey the commands of God that Jesus had to be sent on mission to Earth by His Father. Jesus left heaven where he shared perfect, blissful fellowship and unity with his Father, and then he descended to Earth, a place that would prove hostile to his teachings to the point of his own death on a cross. There honestly is no way for us to even comprehend how far Jesus descended from his throne in heaven in order to be born in a manager on a corrupt Earth. This Jesus who was there during the creation of the heavens and the earth, humbled himself by restricting himself to a human body so that he could be the perfect missionary example. Jesus was tempted in every way, yet he did not falter. He never complained about being uncomfortable or not “fitting in” with the culture around him. Not only did he live a perfect life for us, but Jesus faced the worst end that any missionary could imagine – Jesus was betrayed by one of his closest friends, abandoned by all his disciples, mocked, hated, spit on, and then crucified and hung, naked, on display for the very people he was on mission to love and to serve! The perfect, innocent Jesus bore our sin and experienced a shameful death on the cross, so that we can be forgiven every time that we fail to obey the Lord’s commands.

I am speaking from experience here. I have definitely failed to be a missionary in my workplace for all of the reasons I mentioned above. BUT because Jesus fulfilled His Father’s mission perfectly, my failures and sin are atoned for, by the grace of God, through Jesus’ great sacrifice! Also, despite my failures, the Lord continues to provide me with great opportunities to participate in the good work of sharing the Gospel with others (I believe this blog is one of those opportunities!) And now, my prayer for all of us is that we would strive to model our lives after Jesus, the first and perfect missionary, and when we fail, rejoice that Jesus died to give us another chance. Our Christ went before us, because of his great love for us, so that we can now boldly follow his example and share the good news of his love for all people!

Post by Brynn Gray

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