Matthew 28:18-20: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
So, why do missions matter? I think we often forget how important missions are. It’s not just something we have to do; it is an urgent calling. Those who do not know Christ are on the pathway to hell and eternal suffering. We can’t just sit back and watch that happen. God has called us to be His instruments, whom He will use to save them. We have to do something! I know I’ve heard this so many times, but very rarely does it actually sink in just how urgent this is. It’s a matter of life and death for the people we could be sharing the gospel with. Romans 6: 23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” How much hate can we have in our hearts to keep the good news of the gospel to ourselves and not share that life-changing message with everyone around us? Christ can use you to make an incredible difference in the lives of others. God has shown mercy and grace to us by saving us from our sins, and He calls us to share that great news with others.Again, missions are more than just something we need to do as Christians. Missions are an act of worship. We have a chance to serve and glorify the creator of the universe. After all, He created us for the purpose of glorifying Him. Matthew 5:16 says,
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
A major way that God has called us to glorify Him is through missions. This is the purpose we were designed for, so living that out is the best possible way to live. God has called us to live on mission for His glory.
Missions matters not only to save the lost, but God uses missions to grow the faith of those who serve Him. My first time on an overseas mission was probably the most influential experience of my life outside of being saved. During Spring break of my junior year, I had the amazing opportunity to go on a mission trip to Haiti. A week before the trip, we got the news that my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I was devastated, and I had no idea what to think or do. I still went on the trip, but I wasn’t super focused, because I was worried about my mom. God used this terrible event in my life to force myself to trust completely in Christ and lean on Him because it didn’t feel like I had anything else to hold on to at the time. Throughout the week in Haiti, God showed Himself to me in an incredible way. One specific example that blew me away occurred during the first full day when we went door-to-door talking with people and sharing the gospel with them. My group was about to leave when we saw this little, secluded house on a hill. We decided to go up and talk to the man working in his garden, and it was my turn to lead the discussion. When we got up there, I started mumbling through the gospel message. Before I could say much of anything, he looked at me and said, “As soon as I saw your group walking up the hill, I knew this was the day that I was going to be saved.” I had barely started the gospel message, and believe me, I struggled to get the words out, and then he said that. Talk about a God moment. That man and his son were saved that day, not because of the words I said, but because God worked in His heart even before we got there. God is real, He is alive, and He works through His servants who trust in Him. That week, I saw God work in a way that gave life to the truth that “God is alive and working even today,” a phrase I had heard a hundred times before but never really understood. God truly changed my life that week, and I am so thankful for what God did both through me and in me on that mission trip.
Missions are important, because they change your heart as well as those you reach. God may not always show up in crazy ways like in the story above, but He is always there and the mission field is a great opportunity to experience God in new and incredible ways that will grow your faith. Also, being involved in missions forces you to get out of your comfort zone which is something that I know I struggle with, and I think is a widespread problem in American culture. We live a life that is comfortable. We crave comfort and hate it when we are forced to leave that comfort zone. However, when you get uncomfortable on missions, you are allowing God to step in and work through you by surrendering your desires to the Lord. Seeing God work in that way was truly life changing for me. Missions also forces you to know what you are talking about. You have to make sure you are prepared to share God’s love and the gospel with those around you. 1 Peter 3:15 states, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” In order to do missions, we must be prepared to share the gospel and give a defense of our faith. Growing in those areas will certainly strengthen your faith. So, missions greatly impacts your life and faith as well as the lives of those you reach, but there is a common misconception of missions that causes us to lose sight of God’s calling.
Today, going overseas and serving in another country is how people see missions. This leads to the common belief that only certain people are called to missions. This is an outright lie. While it is true that God only calls certain people to move overseas as missionaries, missions is so much bigger than that, and it is something that all Christians are designed to do. Missions is not just about going to another country, and it is definitely not meant for only certain Christians. Missions is important, because it is a lifestyle that God has called us to live. God calls all Christians to go and make disciples. The big thing that we often forget is that wherever we are is our mission field. God has called us all to missions right where we live. Think about it, God placed you in the area and the time that you live for a reason. He had a plan for your life where you live before you were born. Let God work through you and make an impact where you are!
There are 3 types of Christians when it comes to missions: the goers, the senders, and the disobedient. Which one are you? There are far too many Christians in our country, including me, who are apathetic, lukewarm Christians whose lives don’t reflect their faith. This leads to the common view of Christians as hypocrites. We have to change this! That is how the disobedient Christian lives. Missions is important, because it shows that we really are serious about our faith. If you ask people why they don’t go to church, I have learned that many of them see Christians as hypocrites who live completely different lives outside of church. Nonbelievers just don’t want to be a part of that. Our generation can flip this perception by actively living out our faith.
Now, going and sending are both equally important callings. Romans 12:4-6a says,
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.
We are all gifted differently to do different things for God’s kingdom. God uses some of us to literally go to another country and share the gospel. Others are better equipped to encourage, support, fund, and send missionaries out. In Mark 16:5, Jesus declares that we must “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Whatever your part in global missions is, do it to the best of your ability for the Lord. Global missions is vital to God’s plan and purpose for our lives, but serving the Lord where you live is just as important.
Here in America, we live in a world that is full of comfort, luxury, and entertainment. Americans need Jesus just as much as people in poorer countries. It’s time for us to stop making excuses for why we shouldn’t share the gospel with people around us and actually do it. What is to stop us from going out in our community and just talking to people, sharing the gospel, and praying with them? People might say America works differently, and you can’t evangelize like that here, but that is just plain not true. Excuses like people are too busy, they won’t want to listen, people will think less of you are all prevalent among Christians in our culture. I know I have fallen victim to these excuses. But in the end, God has put you where you are for a reason, and you can shine His light through living for Him, but also through sharing (SPEAKING) the gospel message. If you really think about it, all the excuses that we come up with are insignificant. “If God is for us, who can be against us” – Romans 8:31b. It doesn’t matter what other people think; it matters what Christ thinks of you, and His view of you will never change once He has adopted you into His family. So go and fulfill God’s plan for your life.
Revelations 7:9: After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.
In the end, God’s Will shall be accomplished. All nations will be represented in heaven. The question you must ask yourself is whether God will use you or whether He will go through you. God doesn’t need us to glorify Himself, “we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:17b). I don’t know about you, but I want to be a part of God’s team on this one. There are over 5,000 unreached people groups in the world today and all of us can make a difference for the cause of Christ in those areas. Whether it is through actually going to those people groups, sending others, or through prayer. All of us can make a difference.
So, I’ll ask this questions again: Why does missions matter? In the end, it’s pretty simple. You were dead in your sins, and God made you alive. We can be a part of that transformation in the lives of others. This is what we are designed to do. This is a major part of our calling to glorify God. Living a life on missions will leave you fulfilled, closer to the Lord, and satisfied in a way that no other lifestyle will. God will work through you and in you as you faithfully serve Him. “And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)” It is time for us to take up our cross. You can make an incredible impact in the lives of those around you, what is holding you back?