I was blessed to be asked to share some thoughts at our church’s Women’s Missions Tea again this year (read about last year’s here). With three kids under five this time around, and one of them nursing with so many food intolerances I was down to a diet of about 5-7 foods, finding time and energy to think about anything other than Titus’s food problems was a battle in and of itself!
I ended up reading sermons while nursing him and listening to scripture and sermons while cleaning just to get my mind around what I felt needed to be said. Whew! What a season of life this is.
I was finally able to get down some thoughts a few weeks before the Tea, but struggled to pare it down to just 5ish minutes worth of information (which is not a problem I tend to have. In terms of words, less is more my friends. Less is more.), and then eventually just questioned the whole direction in which I was going. A week before the Tea, I was praying asking the Lord if I should just start over, and the next morning at the weekly worship gathering, a friend made an announcement very similar to the main point in my talk. Thank. You. Jesus.
A lot of this comes from one or two sermons I read and listened to from John Piper. Seriously, you want to be convicted about how you think about missions? Listen to that man. Anyway, here’s what I shared last week.
December 7, 1941. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor which hurtled America headlong into World War 2. Everything about the “normal way of life” for Americans changed. Able men left home and armed for battle. Women found jobs in factories and plants that produced items necessary for wartime. Gas, food, and clothing were all rationed. Communities banded together to plant gardens and hold scrap metal drives in order to provide for the war effort. According to one article I read, “The United States Office of War Information released posters in which Americans were urged to “Do with less–so they’ll have enough” (“they” referred to U.S. troops).”
Do with less, so they’ll have enough.
It wasn’t just the soldier’s war. The entire nation banded together and everyone understood, even if I can’t go fight, I have to do something in order to win this war.
I was reading a sermon about missions by John Piper and he said “It is fitting for us to have a wartime mindset in the use of our resources as long as peoples are without the gospel, and we have the resources to send it.”
As long as peoples are without the gospel, we are in a war for souls. So what is our role? In the same sermon, Piper told a story about William Carey who was a missionary to India—He said:
William Carey blazed the trail to India in 1792 and saw his mission like a miner penetrating into a deep mine, which had never been explored, with no one to guide. He said to Andrew Fuller and John Ryland and his other pastor friends: “I will go down, if you will hold the rope.” And John Ryland reports: “He took an oath from each of us, at the mouth of the pit, to this effect—that ‘while we lived, we should never let go of the rope.’”
As a body of believers here, we are holding the rope for several missionaries as they fight the battle for the people they serve daily. Let’s band together and fight the war with them. But don’t downplay our role just because you’re here or elevate their role as a sent missionary. If you are a Christian, you are in the war, and you also have a mission in addition to holding the ropes for these missionaries.
According to Piper, as Christians, we are to “Joyfully and sacrificially declare and demonstrate that the glory of Christ is more precious than life and to help all people discover that the glory of Christ is their only hope.”
In 2 Corinthians 8 we have a little glimpse into what it looks like for Christians to live out this mission. Paul is writing a letter to the Corinthians and he says to them: “We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.”
During a severe test of affliction that came on them because they were new believers, the Macedonians had an abundance of joy in the midst of extreme poverty which overflowed into a wealth of generosity?!
What causes that much joy?
God becoming man, living the perfect life that we should have, but could not live, and dying the traitorous and treacherous death we should have died and rising again so that you and I might be redeemed in order to worship and glorify God forever.
That was their joy. And it should be ours. And it should cause us to run headlong into the war of joyfully rescuing souls from hell, as a goer, or someone holding the ropes at the top of the pit.
Help our missionary friends make disciples by giving to them out of your abundance or your poverty. Be so filled with joy in Jesus that your worship causes you to give more than you think is ok. Maybe we need to think about doing with less, so they’ll have enough. But also live your life understanding that you also have a mission in the war as a believer. We are not off the “disciple making hook” just because we’re not living overseas. You are in your neighborhood, amongst your coworkers, the mother of your children, for a very specific reason. Be a missionary where you are. You’re a Christian. Live out your mission, both as a rope holder for missionaries, and as a disciple maker right here.
Let’s all Joyfully and sacrificially declare and demonstrate that the glory of Christ is more precious than life and to help all people discover that the glory of Christ is their only hope.” Because he is. Jesus is more precious than life. And he is worthy of our worship.