A Mindset on Missions
by Brent Gambrell, author of Living for Another: More of Others, Less of You
"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." -Colossians 3:2
A little over 15 years ago, I was dragged “kicking and screaming" onto the mission field. You see, a friend’s family had a mission doing great work in the country of Haiti, a place I honestly could not point to on a map at the time. He had asked me to come many times before and I always found an excuse. “I don’t like the heat.” “I don’t look good in khaki!” “ I don’t own a pith helmet.” etc. etc. The truth was that I was always scared of the word missions. I mean, people surrendered to missions. They had to surrender? Was it really that bad? Was it really that horrible of a calling? All I knew was that you had to really sacrifice your whole life, personality, wealth and other dreams to be a missionary! So obviously, I wanted to avoid it at all cost!
My friend finally wore me down and got me to go for three days, that was all… three days. At least, that’s what I thought. What happened during those three days changed my heart and my mindset about what it means to “do missions”.
During those three days and the subsequent years that have followed, I have learned that there is really no difference between what I do here in the United States and what I do in Haiti. I love people. I share the gospel of Jesus Christ. I try my best to meet the needs of the needy and I attempt to disciple and be discipled by those that God has put in my path. But isn’t that the call of every Christian every day? It’s tough work though, right?
In my new book, Living for Another, I talk about why so many of us love missions once we get involved. It’s because of the kind of person we are when we are “on the mission field.” For one week, we are the person we always want to be. During that short stent; we are kind and loving, flexible, sacrificial and selfless. We pray more. We study God’s word differently. We are constantly aware of the needs of those around us whether they be physical, spiritual or emotional. We are ready to get involved and to serve. The question I am always asked by a team member on the last night of a mission trip is this: “How do I keep this going when I get home?”
Here’s the answer… Set your mind there “on mission” and leave it! Then let Christ’s heart change yours in the process. There are two amazing abilities the Lord has placed in each one of us as his children. We can “set our minds” and “let our minds.”
Both “setting” and “letting” are conscious deliberate acts of continual surrender to Christ daily. This requires getting into His word, praying and meditating on Christ every day. It’s in those times, when you set your mind on things above, that He will transform you by the renewing of your mind in His presence. Then go out in service. Open your eyes to those around you and ask that God show you His thoughts, His mind about the people He places in your path. And though we will never perfect it in these mortal bodies; setting and letting are excellent goals. I thank God that He’s constantly changing my mind. That’s my prayer for you, too…even if He has to get you kicking and screaming.
Adapted from the book "Living for Another: More of Others, Less of You" by Brent Gambrell.
Brent Gambrell is the president of Brent Gambrell Ministries, a nonprofit ministry based in Nashville, Tennessee, which includes A Door to Hope missions. Since 1990, Brent has been traveling full-time, speaking and ministering to adults, students, groups, and churches around the world. He is author of Living for Another, and has co-authored the youth edition of the Experiencing God Bible study, and developed the Who You Are in Christ DVD Bible study series. Visit him online at BrentGambrell.com.