This afternoon I had the privilege of sharing a short devotional with women from all generations in our church as we gathered for lunch and to hear about 4 different ministries our church family supports prayerfully and financially.
I was asked to share why missions matters in 5 minutes or less…a task well suited to my love for using as few words as possible. As I began to pray, I sensed the phrase “missions matters because the glory of God matters” in my heart, so I listened to sermons, read passages of Scripture and read blogs (here and here) of people much wiser than me. I then texted a friend who is currently in full-time ministry to college students (halfway across the country!) and shared a great sermon with her. Her response gave confidence to the direction I was heading. She was, at that very moment, writing a talk to give to their weekly gathering about doing missions for the glory of God. No joke. We laughed, shared thoughts and were encouraged.
Here’s what I shared.
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!
Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord!
Why start a devotional about missions with a psalm about praising God instead of The Great Commission, or another passage more oriented toward “mission” and spreading the Gospel?
We first need to think rightly about why we are doing what we’re doing. Missions isn’t the end. Missions is a means to an end. We serve an almighty, magnificent, unrivaled God who deserves glory and praise from the sun, moon, and stars, even rocks and the trees, let alone every tribe, tongue, nation and people group on this planet from the beginning of time until the end of forever.
Isaiah 45:5-6 says “I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.”
When we begin to see and understand how glorious our God truly is, our affections for him must spread to those around us. When we really get how much the glory of God matters, we must do everything we can to make sure he is praised from our next door neighbor, to the prostitute on the street in Costa Rica, to the woman battling breast cancer in Egypt.
If you’ve never read “Let the Nations be Glad” by John Piper, I highly recommend it for any believer. His book begins:
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.”
So today, worship Jesus in the giving of your money. Give more than makes you comfortable. But please don’t let writing a check be all you do. Don’t let “church missions” be merely a line item in your monthly budget. Worship God in every facet of your life so those who live around and among you might worship him as well. By all means, go to the ends of the earth and preach the name of Jesus but start by walking across the street and praying with your neighbor.
If you are a Christian, you have a mission. Glorify the name of the Lord Jesus, today, tomorrow and for all eternity.
We closed by joining in song to “Glorify Thy Name”
PS–here’s a picture of the table I sat at. Isn’t it lovely?