What Does It Mean to Be on a Mission?
- Meg Bucher Writer and Author
- 2022 16 Sep
“But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumph procession. Now He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume” (2 Corinthians 2:14).
Foreign atmospheres bring our faith bubbling to the surface. On mission in a far-away country, I learned to rely on God more than ever before. In return, He faithfully performed miracles right before my eyes. It’s true, going on a mission trip is life changing. It takes hard work and preparation, not just to raise the funds to travel and stay, but to ready our hearts and our minds for the mission we are being called to. What does it mean to be on a mission?
1. Obedient Selflessness
“Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15).
Obedience is hardly popular opinion. Following is a much easier concept to commit to. Missionaries obediently follow God’s call to follow Him into the unpopular places in the world. Mission is defined in the English dictionary as a “group or committee of persons sent to a foreign country to conduct negotiations, establish relations, provide scientific and technical assistance, or the like.” It’s also defined as “Any important task or duty that is assigned, allotted, or self-imposed; an important goal or purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction; a calling or vocation.” Sometimes, those are the neighborhoods within walking distance of our homes. Other times, it’s quietly literally in remote places of the world.
Scripture is clear, Jesus will not return until every ear has had a chance to hear the Gospel message. Missionaries are at work every day, dedicating their lives to Jesus’ directive to “Go.” Commission is defined as “the act of committing or entrusting a person, group, etc., with supervisory power or authority; an authoritative order, charge, or direction; authority granted for a particular action or function.” Though we are not all called to be God’s literal army in other nations, we are all called to take part in the process.
Matthew recorded Jesus’ words:
“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:16-20).
Life within the love of Christ naturally involves us in this mission to go to the far corners of the world. Every church and denomination should be reaching out to help those who are physically taking the Truth around the world and translating it into native languages. Everyone who follows Christ is entrusted to participate in The Great Commission. If not to physically go, then to help provide for others.
2. Determination to Persevere
“To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?” (2 Corinthians 2:16).
The middle of the dirt road doesn’t seem like a great stage to most of us. But, for those who have experienced the supernatural power of God turning what they have to give into miracles, those dirt roads and dirty places set the stage for miracles. In the midst of the dreadful smell of death and doom, our mission team trudged in with loud speakers and bubble wands, simple dance moves – and most of all – smiles. Love breaks through language barriers. It breaks through the smell of death and doom.
To those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. The love of Christ Jesus is a miraculous light in dark places. He has the power to illuminate even the darkest of hearts, and lift us from the most painful aches. Jesus meets all of us, right where we are at in life. When we determine to persevere in God’s call on our lives, and obediently go to the places He is calling us to, the Father of Heaven’s Armies gives us what we need to accomplish the mission.
3. Genuinely Anchored in Truth
“You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us” (2 Corinthians 2:17).
The mission of the Gospel is meant to be shared in love, through loving people. A huckster is “a persuasive and aggressive salesperson; a person who employs showy methods to effect a sale, win votes, etc; to make petty bargains.” Words are powerful, but empty without sincerity.
When my daughters were young, I taught them to make eye contact to show they were listening. When we look into another’s eyes, we can naturally discern a lot. When the Lord leads us in love to share His love, He makes Himself known through us. The NIV translation of 2 Corinthians 2:17 reads: “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”
Mission work takes genuine faith, anchored in the truth. We cannot go out into the world each day weaponless against the war waging against good in this world, let alone the far corners of the world. A mission is specific, and the means by which we accomplish it in the name of the Lord is provided by Him. If the lines of communication are blocked, we are forced to fly blind. The ESV translation says, “For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commission by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:17).
Sincerity is birthed from the everyday pursuit of Christ. Each day, waking to place God on the throne of our lives. Putting Him first is literal, and mission critical. “For we are nothing like the others who sell the word of God like a commodity,” The VOICE paraphrase reads, “Do not be mistaken; our words come from God with the utmost sincerity, always spoken though the Anointed in the presence of God.” How do others know we are genuine and sincere about the Gospel we share? It’s rooted in an everyday pursuit of Love, and willing submission to be led by His Spirit.
Being on mission for the Lord is part of our everyday lives, no matter if we are called to our local community to work, or across the globe to unreached people groups where the Bible does not even exist in their native language yet. Each mission is critical and takes a genuine faith. People are attracted to Jesus because of His compassion, empathy, genuine kindness and care, and sincerity for each individual person and their journey. Jesus meets every one of us right where we are at in our everyday lives. And He commissions us to develop the same heart for people He has for us. He gives us all we need to accomplish the mission – not because He needs us to complete it – but for our own development in the pursuit of holiness.
Each day, we make a choice. Will we accept the mission, no matter how hard or uncomfortable it will be? (Remember, Paul knew he would go to jail and still accepted his mission with abandon.) Or, will we settle for less than the life we are supposed to live? Let’s go, for the glory of God.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Bayram Gürzoğlu
Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ as a freelance writer, blogger at Sunny&80, and author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” and “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” and “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ.” She earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay at home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her passion to write. A member of Faith Church in Sandusky, OH, she serves as Communications Director and leads Bible studies for women and teen girls. Meg is a Cleveland native and lifelong Browns fan, living by the shore of Lake Erie in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and golden doodle.