The most common view of missionary service is that it's out of reach for them personally and that the term 'missionary' is always for someone else in a country far away. We don't really want a part of it because we think we will have to live life isolated from friends and give up all our luxuries. We aren't willing to change our lifestyle to fit with the stereotype we have of missions-minded people, so we just ignore Jesus' command in Matthew 28 to go and change the world.
Not everyone is asked by God to go overseas, but everyone is called to go and make disciples of all nations. The traditional watering down of Matthew 28 stated that 'everyone has a part in foreign missions - some of us serve in other countries, some give money and some Christians pray.' This is partially true. Everyone can give money or pray for missionaries. But is this where our missions service ends? This seems like an incomplete view of what God has called us to do.
Everyone has gifts and talents that God has given them. Some of us have hard skills like mechanics, electricians, dentists or plumbers. Some have soft skills such as compassion, a listening ear or have been blessed with additional financial resources. Missions is more than organizing a massive trip to feed children around the world. There might be a single mom across the street, an elderly gentleman next door or a child who has a cut on their knee and needs a bandaid. The basic premise of missions is as simple as the line from Disney's 'Robots', 'See a need, fill a need.' So often we don't look around at what people need because we don't want to see their needs and subsquently have our conscience guilting us into helping them. Or we see needs around us but are so busy with our own schedules and agendas that we don't have time to stop. Or else we are afraid of being taken advantage of or asked to help on a regular basis so we don't even begin to get involved. Getting involved can be messy. Minding your own business is much safer.
So, where do we start with our mission work? By opening our eyes and our hearts. Plan a free carwash for your community! Organize a group to volunteer to wash windows in your neighborhood for Christ! These things are great, but missionary service doesnÕt need to be a formal plan or group. Look around you to see what needs should be filled and use your personal skills to help others. If you are a mechanic, maybe a single mom down the street has a car that could really use an oil change. If youÕre a dentist, is there a needy family who need free teeth cleaning? If you are a carpenter, is there a local women's shelter that desperately needs some renovation work to be done? Get creative! Do an inventory of your skills and talents and open your eyes to the needs around you. Do you have half an hour a week to sacrifice for the needy? Maybe you were injured at work and suddenly have a lot of free time on your hands to visit some elderly widows. If every Christian did only one thing for their community in the name of Jesus, it would change the world.
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