Notes From November 22nd, 2016: What is Missions About?
On November 22nd, one of the notes I took was:
Missions is not about where you are, it’s about Who’s you are. As a missionary, everywhere is your home.
Missions is not about going to Africa or the Middle East to share the love of Jesus with people. It’s about simply being so in love with Jesus that we just can’t help but share His love with people everywhere we go. If Africa or the Middle East happen to be some of the places God highlights for us to go, that’s even better. Obedience to His voice is greater than any other voice.
The Importance of a Genuine Relationship With Jesus
Actually having a genuine relationship with Jesus is a requirement when we share the Gospel. Otherwise, we just end up sharing the Gospel for recognition or for a round of applause. Putting on a “Christian mask” might work in California where I’m from, but it doesn’t work in Mozambique.
What I mean by “Christian mask” is when we’re only Christians by our Facebook status or by our church association. It’s easy for us to say we are Christians when our Christianity doesn’t actually look like anything practical. In the African dirt where we’re out of our comfort zone, that’s when we’ll find out if we’re really Christians.
You can’t fake when you’re in love. People will know it. In the same way, if we can’t be missionaries in our own hometown, we won’t be missionaries anywhere else. Where we live doesn’t determine whether or not we are missionaries. It’s not where we live that determines what we’re called to do, but it’s how we live that will determine whether or not our relationship with Jesus is authentic.
It’s easy to be a Christian on a Sunday morning at church, but it’s not easy to live as a Christian when people are asking you for money and food you don’t have. What would you do if that happened to you? It happened to me in Mozambique all the time.
While I was there, I got asked for money and food so many times that I think I almost lost my Christianity lol But it’s in those times that we really need to be the hands and feet of Jesus to people.
How To Handle People Who Are Always Asking For Stuff
My time at the Harvest School in Mozambique was a very stressful time in many ways. But, what frustrated me the most was how often the poor would ask me for food or for money. I knew I couldn’t help everyone, and for that reason, I always felt awkward whenever somebody asked me for money. There are two ways people often handle this type of thing.
One way is by not ever giving poor people money since it’s true that they could spend it on drugs or alcohol. Another way to handle this is by always giving poor people money since I’m sure there are plenty of Bible verses to back up that idea. But I believe there’s a much better option; prayer.
Divine Revelation About Giving To The Poor
One day, while I was spending time with God during Harvest School, I asked God whether I should say “Yes” or “No” to the poor whenever they would ask me for food or money. Then, the Lord spoke to me and said, It’s not about saying yes or no. But, it’s about the condition of your heart in the process.
“WOW!” I thought. That’s it! God already knows we have limited resources. We can’t give to, and/or, help everyone. But we can all help someone. I see giving to the poor the same way as giving to the church. If we give to the church grudgingly, we won’t reap the blessings God promises us for our giving. I know. I’ve tried it.
Giving is not about following some religious ritual so that we can feel good about ourselves. It’s less about how much or when we give and it’s more about the condition of our hearts in the process.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
With that being said, if you’re going to give a poor person a hamburger from McDonald’s, don’t be a cheapskate and buy something from the dollar menu. Get ’em a big mac with fries and a drink. Whether we say yes or no when the poor ask us for money isn’t the most important thing. The most important thing is that whatever our response is, it’s done in love.
As missionaries, giving to the poor doesn’t come from our wallet but it comes from our hearts. People won’t know we are Christians by our response to their requests. But, they’ll know we are Christians by our love (John 13:35).
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