It’s common to hear “I have been called to the mission field.” That typically means one has been called overseas to minister to a different country. Have you ever compared your life to someone else’s, say that of a foreign missionary’s, and felt less than great? Less than important?
The desire to be important isn’t inherently wrong, but the way we try to go about accomplishing it is. Jesus’s own disciples desired to be great. But he told them:
“…whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45
We have all been called to the mission field. The kind, in fact, that Jesus said will make us great.
And I mean that in the most practical way, though most of us miss its obvious presence in our lives.
Scripture has a whole lot to say about our command for hospitality (not the entertaining kind), caring for the needs of other people (fellow Christians first), caring for widows and orphans, giving out of our abundance to those in need, washing feet (performing needed, humble tasks), and in general, thinking less of ourselves in order to meet the needs of others.
I’m just beginning to fully grasp this profound, simple blazing truth: the whole essence of the Christian life is meeting the needs of those around us! In our modern times, it is often sadly neglected even in our own homes. I believe the command to perform these mission-tasks starts with those closest to you (immediate family, extended family, neighbors, church, friends, etc.) and keeps radiating out according to your seasons of life, ability and resources.
There is a chasm between identifying as Christians and the answer to this call of missions on our lives. And I believe young women, between their teen years and their early married-without-children years have a spectacular opportunity to devote themselves to this mission mandate because they have the most time; but sadly, I see too many young women clamoring with boredom, grasping for meaning and purpose while missing this front row opportunity to serve Christ in the way He demonstrated for us.
We are desperately seeking greatness, and completely missing how to reach it.
And what does it look like? A thousand things. From caring for one’s own children and husband in that season, to providing food for someone who needs it, to mowing grass for someone who isn’t able or whose mower is broken, to sitting with a friend in the hospital, visiting a lonely neighbor, writing cards of encouragement to someone hurting, using your gifts to bless another, cleaning a sick friend’s house, caring for young children so a mom can run errands, offering a ride or picking up groceries for an elderly friend, caring for aging parents, and the list is endless.
What is needed more than anything for this vast mission field? AVAILABILITY.
But a few things hinder us:
- We are addicted to busyness and that addiction robs us of the very time we need to attend to the needs of others. To be available is a ministry of great worth.
- We want to do something extraordinary. We crave approval and a sense of worth. We gravitate toward “importance” while Jesus said to make ourselves low and not seek man’s approval. He exalts the humble better than we ever could exalt ourselves. He made a big deal out of handing out glasses of water and washing feet. So should we.
“The real test of a saint is not one’s willingness to preach the gospel, but one’s willingness to do something like washing the disciples’ feet – that is, being willing to do those things that seem unimportant in human estimation but count as everything to God.” -Oswald Chambers
- We let our perceived need of more money dictate our choices and monopolize our time more than we lean on our faith in God’s provision.
- We let peer pressure influence our direction. Honestly, serving others isn’t all the rave. It’s so hard to want to follow the crowd and do the in thing. But that’s never what we were called to. We should be trend setters, elevating what Jesus says was important.
As a mom, I’m really working on helping my children understand this, praying that they will be mission-minded right here, right now. As my 15 year old prepares for a mission trip to Ukraine, I remind her, “It’s great that you’re going. But it’s not more important than the mission field all around you.”
May the Lord raise up a generation passionate for humble service. May we pray for that for our children, before we pray for any earthly success to be theirs.