A career missionary supported by our denomination spoke this morning at church. Her husband was our overseer for a long time for most of eastern Asia.
While our finances do not currently allow it, I've had a strong heart for missions since I learned about the day-to-day lives of missionaries through three families I know serving overseas - one in Africa, one in Russia, and one in Papua New Guinea. At one time, I began the initial screening process to become a missionary myself but my experiences led me elsewhere.
Her message today focused around this one thought: reaching one among millions. Don't be overwhelmed by "what can I do when so much needs to be done." Do what you can where you are with the people you see everyday. Like the old adage, you don't know how far your ripples of influence will be felt.
She showed a photo collage of their 40 years of service. She was able to show God working in their lives in the early 70's and the people they came in contact with. And, then she showed pictures of those same folks 40 years later - pastors, missionaries, college graduates, and the children and grandchildren of those same people also now working for the Lord. Her hair dresser in Korea. The teller at her bank in Japan. Just one individual she came in contact with during her regular day. I was brought back to church by someone I had known since a child and who was placed across the hall from me in my dorm sophomore year at Michigan State. I was HER one among millions.
The second thing that jumped out at me...God's placed something in her husband's heart six years ago that they are now seeing come to fruition. Six years ago, he felt God whispering something to his heart that has since turned into this.
The last thing she mentioned that grabbed me - Jesus is coming too soon for us to get caught up in denominational differences. There's too much work to be done and we want to be ready! Our denomination has a bit of a history of being a tad exclusionary. LOL So, hearing this from a lifelong member was a bit shocking. However, from what she has seen, heard, and experienced, her conclusion is that there are simply two armies: God's or Satan's. Both are large but God's is divided up by all these walls - some are higher than others but there are walls nonetheless.
This reminds of a Casting Crowns song and a spoken part in the middle of "What This World Needs":
People aren't confused by the gospel,
They're confused by us.
Jesus is the only way to God,
But we are not the only way to Jesus.
This world doesn't need
My tie, my hoodie,
My denomination, or my translation of the Bible,
They just need Jesus.
We can be passionate about what we believe,
But we can't strap ourselves to the gospels.
Because we're slowing it down
Jesus is going to save the world,
But maybe the best thing we can do
Is just get out of the way.
So today has left me with several questions to mull over this week:
How can we as a family better support missions?
Who are those around me that I see everyday - my version of a hairdresser, a bank teller - who need me to be a positive witness to Christ's power?
What is God whispering to my heart today that may take years to come to pass? And, what are the "baby steps" I need to take now?
How do I become part of the "solution" of breaking down denominational walls instead of being part of the problem?
So, I ask you: what are YOU doing for missions, who are those you can witness to daily, what's God's whispering to you, and how can you be part of the solution for God's army? Like the song says, Jesus WILL save the world so what are you gonna do about that?