This week is probably the most exciting time of the entire year at my church. It’s the yearly missions celebration and tonight we are meeting to emphasize it. I absolutely love it! I love the fact that it’s a celebration as opposed to a conference. The conferences I’ve been a part of emphasize preachers telling you that you don’t do enough (which is true most of the time). They are centered on stirring men up to action by looking at their failures. The celebration, although still bringing before us that there is more to be done, stirs me to action by causing me to behold Jesus Christ and His work in the world. We celebrate His redeeming work and resurrection, we celebrate the souls He is calling through various ministries, we worship Him through song, testimony, and preaching. What seems to happen is that we get such a vision of the greatness of God and His work in the world that we are encouraged to become more involved. It stirs us up to action out of a love for our Great God and Savior. The conference attempts to stir the believer up also, but there’s something about celebrating God’s redemptive work that drives men to serve my LORD out of worship – and worship is the heart of it all. As a matter of fact, there is a song we will be singing this year by Matt Redman titled “Mission’s Flame”; I love the words! (I’ll link to it at the end of the post.) “Let worship be the heart of missions aim; to see the nations recognize Your fame; ‘till every tribe and tongue voices your praise; send us out!” Great song! But I digress.
This is the primary goal of missions. We want to see men saved. We do not wish any to be in hell, but our goal is primarily the glory of God. The Westminster Catechism states the chief end of man is “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” John Piper, a popular pastor has “tweaked” that a bit to say the chief end of man is “to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” Now whether you’re Calvinist (which both the particular catechism and pastor mentioned are) or not, one can, and should, agree with these statements for they’re true regardless of your position on election and free-will. It is this love for God that drives us. Sin should grieve us, not just because of what it does to man, but because of what it does to the heart of God. I want men to be right with God for their sake, but primarily for God’s glory. God created them for worship, and they will worship something/someone. Our love and passion for God should be so great that we should be jealous for His glory. We should long to see people praise His name.
This is the way true mission work is accomplished; we go in the power of Jesus Christ. He tells us in Matthew 28:18-20 “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” It is by boldness given by Him that we unashamedly proclaim the gospel. It is by His Spirit that conviction is brought on men, and they are drawn to Jesus Christ. It is His power. God’s work can’t be done apart from God’s strength. We don’t work and then bring the harvest to God as if we show him how hard we labored while He was busy feasting at home. We are co-workers with Him. He works in and through us.
This is the field, but there is much more being stated in that phrase than just “the field”. As believers, when we go out, we are in the business of restoring things to their created order. The world is God’s, He created it. Even though sin has come into it via man, it doesn’t change the fact that the world is the LORD’s. Remember the parable Jesus told of the man who had a field that the enemy came a sowed tares in? (Matthew 13:24-30). It was the man’s field regardless of what the enemy sowed there, and that man had the right to harvest his own field. We are workers in God’s vineyard. It is an honor to be used of God in His work of new creation!
Missions is an exciting thing! It’s not just for those who go to another country. Missions is done in the home amidst the family, on your street, in your county, state, country, continent, the world. It’s not just for the “elite” it’s for everyone – and God is the center of the whole endeavor! God’s glory, God’s power, God’s world!