This past week has been incredibly busy and an incredible blessing. My wife and I made a quick trip back to Phoenix so that I could co-officiate the wedding of a young refugee couple from the Chin ethnic group of Burma. Then, the morning after our return to Southern California, I traveled about 4 hours south of the border with Ron Clipp from Shepherd’s Staff in order to visit and hopefully encourage a few missionaries that live and serve in that huge, developing nation, known as Mexico.
Because of the busy-ness of the week and thus the limited time I’ve had available to write, I need to be brief in this post. What I will write about in this and my next few posts is the result of my time in Mexico spending just a few hours with these amazingly faithful servants who have stayed at their God-assigned posts through heart crushing personal trials and personal suffering and yet joyfully love, serve, and represent Jesus to those they live among. Spending even a few moments with the one family who has lived there for 13 years and the other that has lived there for 26 years is a privilege that I don’t take for granted.
During the 1 hour and 45 minute wait at the border to cross back over to San Diego, Ron and I talked about the giant, yet humble examples of faithfulness the people we visited are. And I couldn’t help but ponder afresh what/who it is that motivates people like them to do what they do. As I said, this will be the first of a few posts, and as I unpackage them, I do believe that some of what I write will be of use to those who pastor and lead churches.
I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that Paul, the greatest non-divine theologian in the New Testament, was also its greatest missionary. And if that truth is not a coincidence, than it shouldn’t be surprising to discover that throughout church history, many other great theologians and pastors with solid, thoroughly saturated, bible-based theology either went, wanted to go, or strongly encouraged their followers to take the gospel to all nations.
Why is this?
To put it simply, if anyone is in an authentic relationship with the God of the bible, they are in a relationship with the missionary God. The deeper our relationship with and understanding of Him, the greater our desire will be to “declare His glory among the nations” (Psalm 96:3), and to find our own, God-given role in accomplishing that purpose.
I believe the following quote summarizes quite accurately the thrust of God’s word in regards to the individual believer and a local church: “there are only 2 options: you’re either a sender or a goer. Anything else is disobedience.”