Imagine Yourself a Missionary (Don Dawson)

Imagine yourself a missionary. Though you probably value and support missionaries, it is too far out of your comfort zone. It looks too much like difficult living conditions and too many sacrifices.

When I was young I thought I wanted to be a missionary going to some distant land. Little did I know that God was already using me as a missionary.

Clifford Taylor was our old bachelor neighbor. He lived in a run-down house, which might better be called a shack. It had several additions - none of which connected well with the rest of the house. The flooring was old, old linoleum (cracked, pitted, or torn away), some wood and a few rugs. Newspapers, magazines, and all kinds of things stacked around. Dust was a quarter inch thick.

My mother regularly sent me to take peaches, banana bread or something else she had baked to him. I didn’t want to go, but I could never tell my mother “no”. It was scary for a young boy going to Clifford’s – very uncomfortable. He was a recluse - different, strange, mysterious, and socially awkward. Clifford was lonely and always wanted me to come inside. I would visit for a while, glad when I could go home.

I was reluctant, but I was a missionary – sent to bring the presence of God is some small way to a person in need. My mother was the real missionary. Her love for God created in her a love for her neighbor and a desire to provide for his need – for a visit as much as for any food. You could probably tell your own stories of how your parents and mentors showed and taught you how to live as a missionary.

A missionary is one who is sent with the Good News in word or deed. We have always understood that to be in a far away country. Let’s broaden that definition.

God may not want you to go to other lands and peoples; however, God does want you to be a missionary in the fullest sense. The word “missionary” is derived from the Latin word “missio”, which is a translation of the Greek “apostello.”

On the first Easter evening in the upper room, Jesus appeared to the disciples and instructed them “as the Father has sent (apostello/missio) me, so I send (apostello/missio) you.”
God intends for you to be a missionary – living out the Great Commission and Great Commandment wherever you are. Many of you are doing that, but never thought of yourself as a missionary. You are loving your neighbors and bearing witness to Jesus. Recognize that you are a missionary in the truest sense – sent to your families, schools, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and strangers who cross your paths.

It is about having eyes to see and ears to hear the needs and opportunities around us. We need to develop the gift of being quick to discern that someone is hurting. We need to be quick to obey when God puts someone on our minds or in our hearts.

Live out your missionary calling. Your vocation is following Jesus (missionary/apostle) whatever your occupation. Wherever you find yourself, know that you are sent as an ambassador of Christ.

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