Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Missionary or not?

The word "missionary" keeps being thrown around regarding my time here in Brazil.  It was first mentioned by the director of BIS (Brasilia International School), and again while raising support for this adventure, and even more by staff at BIS.   But can I let you in on something?  I don't feel nor necessarily think of myself as a missionary.

When the word missionary is mentioned, I think of people like Amy Carmichael, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, Gladys Aylward, George Muller, Katie Davis....not me.

I see myself simply as someone who wakes up each morning, goes to work with the joy of loving on little people, I
 come home, and if I am brave enough that evening - attempts an adventure out among people I don't understand.

There is nothing grand or glamorous about my life.  Nothing like what Amy Carmichael did, or Gladys Aylward.  I am simply living my life as I feel God has directed.

 The term "missionary" seems to carry this connotation of great things accomplished in God's name.  But really, is the term "missionary" even in the Bible (I haven't researched that, so please let me know if it is)?

When Jesus sent people out to proclaim His Good News, He didn't send out "missionaries".  No, he sent people out as disciples (Mark 16:20, John 15:8).

"Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."
~Matthew 28:19

He did not say "go and make missionaries".  No, he said disciples.  I think I can handle the word disciple versus missionary. 

A disciple is a student or follower of a doctrine or teacher.  And ultimately what Jesus is saying is "go and be my follower, let Me be your Teacher, follow My Truth.  Live for Me."

This means that wherever God has placed you, whether it is in another country, in a big city, in a small one-room school town, or as a home school are to be His disciple.  Listening to Him.  Following Him.  Being obedient to Him and sharing His truth and love right where you are.  And in that obedient life lived for Him, those around you may become His disciples as well.

My life really isn't any different than yours.  My heart is just as stubborn and honestly sometimes defiant, demanding the way I think things should be.  I just happen to be living in a foreign country.  But maybe that's what needed to happen because here...I cannot rely upon my own strength or resources.  And in order for God to make me His disciple, He had to bring me to a place where my stubborn will would be broken and where I would (hopefully one day) live fully for Him.

So, wherever God has you...whether it's mothering your little ones, or brightening some one's day with a cup of joe, patrolling the streets in your town keeping people safe, nursing the wounded, serving in the military, or even living in a foreign country - wherever you are - become a disciple of God.  Life out His truth and His Word each day.  You are a "missionary" right where He has placed you.

And my guess is...that Amy Carmichael, the Elliot's, Gladys Aylward,and George Muller didn't really see themselves as this great big missionary but as someone who simply chose to live for Christ each and every day that they were given.

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