I hope to see a day when I’ll be in another culture, preaching the gospel of Christ. I am currently a student at a missions-training university in Minnesota, where I am being equipped to take the church to where it is not. My goal is to be a long-term missionary.
In this school, there is a great enthusiasm for doing missions. The students are passionate about going. The faculty is passionate about equipping and fielding. There are many incredible reasons to pursue this passion.
The Glory of God
God is worthy of infinite praise, and He desires the worship of all peoples. He commands us to go to all nations to make known the knowledge of His glory. We are His friends if we do what He commands us (John 15:14). Out of love and reverence for our gracious Lord, we go.
There is one passage in the Bible that I see many students and faculty encouraged by frequently. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea,” (Habakkuk 2:14). We are so excited for the beginning of the age when we will be with the Lord forever. At this point, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
A passion for God’s glory is always the primary reason for good multi-ethnic ministry. When we cease to be passionate about Him, we cease to be doing Christ-honoring work. “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
The Joy of People
John Piper said that “We exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.” When we evangelize, we carry the message of life and hope to a dead and hopeless world. God wants a people who are ever rejoicing in Him.
We are commanded to love our enemies and our neighbors (Matthew 5:44, 22:39). To keep the gospel from a person is to display a lack of love for that person. This is true regardless of the situation. Sharing the gospel is the most loving thing to do even when it feels awkward, when it causes persecution, when it causes you to live in poverty. We have the joy of Christ through the work of His Spirit (Galatians 6:22), and we get to spread the gospel to create joy in Christ among men.
One of the students, Elisabeth Greenough, remarked: “Our end goal is not simply to change anyone’s poverty level; our end goal is to bring them joy in Christ alone.”
We have the privilege of being used by God to reconcile sinners joyfully to Himself. Matt Chandler said that when we do missions, we participate in a “cosmic take your child to work day.” Salvation is the work of our sovereign Lord.
Trials Are Gain
We have the privilege of suffering for the Lord, and missions is one way that we may suffer. Our suffering produces at least 2 blessed things in believers: endurance and glorification. Both of which scripture says is a reason for joy. Consider the following passages.
“The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” – Romans 8:16-17
“It has been given to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him.” – Philippians 1:29
“Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
“For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21
“Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you face various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” – James 1:2-4
Many aspects of missions are thoroughly enjoyable. Missionaries get to experience unique cultures, places, and people. Here are some exciting facets of missions.
- Learning a new language
- Meeting new people
- Seeing the world
- Eating new food
- Praying for people you’d have never known
- Experiencing new cultures
Ultimately One Reason
Missions will now always be that pleasant. We cannot count on places, cultures, or people to bring us contentment in our work. Our contentment and joy must always be Christ, lest we fail. We may be martyred, lose all comfort, experience persecution, or stay in spiritual trenches. But, it is unquestionably worth it to say to the nations “come, magnify the Lord with me.”
We have one goal: that God is glorified. “Ascribe to the LORD you heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” – Psalm 29:1-2
“Someone asked if the heathen who have never heard the Gospel be saved? It is more a question with me whether we — who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not — can be saved.” — Charles Spurgeon