10th July 2020
We had a very special evening a week ago when we had all our mission partners in conversation via Zoom. If you were there for it, you’ll know how good it was, and you’ll be glad to hear more from it. If you weren’t able to make it, I’d like to give you a taste of what we heard.
The final question put to all our mission partners was this: “What is the most important thing you’ve learned through your experience of serving in world mission?” I jotted down their answers, and what struck me is that these are lessons for all of us: not only for world mission, but for any kind of mission, indeed for all of our lives serving the Lord. So, here they are, in quick succession, lessons for life:
- God is bigger than we thought. He has opened our eyes to see how he values other people and cultures.
- God doesn’t need us to do his work, but he chooses to do so. It’s a privilege for us to serve him in mission, not least because he grows us as we do it.
- God is always in control, even when we feel that things are falling apart. His kingdom will grow, however bleak it seems at the time. It is God’s work, and he will get it done.
- We’re learning to be humble. We can sometimes feel that we’re doing God a favour in serving him, when it’s a privilege that he’s given us.
- Let God take you out of your comfort zone. You are safe with the Lord as your shepherd.
- Take joy in loving people and listening to them, to understand what’s really going on beneath any cultural filter.
- Let the gospel address your own sins. Remember what God has done for you, you are safe in Christ, and you don’t need to prove yourself.
- Love the people and the situation you’re in enough, so that you cry when you have to leave.
- Deal with fear by remembering that nobody has a Kalashnikov pointing at you!
- “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), but also: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
- God has invited me to be part of what he’s doing, and I have a fear of missing out. “We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
- Have a sense of humour, and don’t take yourself too seriously (but do take God seriously).
I wonder which of those lessons you most need to learn, and to keep learning?
Lord, teach me, teach us, teach our mission partners what we most need to know in order to serve you most faithfully, in your Son’s name. Amen.