Ever since I started talking about my recent Czech mission, a number of brothers- and sisters-in-blogging have asked the same question: “Are you a missionary?”
I know what they mean: am I a long-term evangelist. Nope; the trip was only two weeks long (though I’ve returned a few times).
But what I wanted to say (without being rude – I love y’all) was, “Aren’t we all missionaries?”
(Most people, including the folks who have asked me this question, would totally agree with what I’m saying. But that doesn’t mean we can’t discuss it again!)
My church teaches variations of this theme: there’s a certain danger in treating our earthly residence as “home”. It’s the danger of mistaking our true situation. We are all behind enemy lines; none of us are home yet. It’s thinking of this earth as “home” that gets our focus off of heaven; it’s thinking of our personal comfort zone as “home” that causes us to miss opportunities to share the Gospel with those in our workplace, our school, or our street.
I’m as bad as anyone else. My focus are constantly on earthly goals, so much so that I have a hard time dreaming about anything else.
But when I consider thousands of people plunging daily into hell, well, it becomes a burr in my shoe. Hopefully more.
Because it’s actually harder to witness in America, precisely because of the fact that I live here.
If I go to Europe and have a bad experience witnessing to someone, I can escape the fallout by flying “home” the next week. Learn the lesson, make it abstract, move on. But if I let my Jesus Freak flag fly here in the states, I risk of harming existing connections – friendships, job prospects, you name it. I have to deal with the fallout. It’s why many of us instinctively shy away from witnessing at home.
Which is exactly why we must consider ourselves missionaries even if we’ve never set foot on a plane. It will help us fight our comfort zone.
The New Testament promotes nothing less than urgency. Things are not what they seem. Your street dotted with white picket fences, that comforting high-rise overlooking a gleaming city – enemy territory, all of it. Waiting for God’s invasion. We should be moving about with the wariness of a soldier patrolling a war zone, carefully watching his back, yet constantly looking out for those in need.
If that gets your blood boiling a little, well, maybe we’ve uncovered the reason a lot of us (if we’re honest) are bored with Christianity, even those of us who are trying to be holy. We’ve lost our mission. We keep leaping instead into sociopolitical dogfights or long searches for identity, and those things are fine in certain contexts. But Jesus says: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33).” My pastors never pooh-poohed my inner search for God, but they did add a healthy layer of “it’s not about you” to my life, so that I would not be pulled inwards. We find ourselves most when we lose ourselves; God adds to us when we are busy adding to others.
What better way to add to others than to be a carrier of God’s gospel?