I am with our team in Haiti as we speak. It has been a great experience so far. We have had tons of great experiences. I was even able to preach today! Once this morning, and once again in about 30 minutes. We have had the opportunity to serve the sick and the kids. Steve, one of the doctors on our team, and June, our nurse, have been wonderful. Kayla, Brad and Jacob have been working hard to serve the needs of our group. David has been enjoying so much time loving on kids. It has been wonderful. But, It has made me think.......
Missions are always a great crusade within the human condition. Having grown up in and around the church my entire life I find it amazing that when the term “mission trip” is used, people begin to dream and speculate beyond reality! Somehow in the realm of modern evangelicalism we have decided that going on a mission trip we are given opportunity to change the world, impact lives and save the lost.
The reality is that we have taken that opportunity as a chance to “play God” as if in some fantasy! Somehow, we decide that we now hold the key to people’s happiness, contentment and rescue. While we do know the One who is ALL of those things, we hold none of His ability to do such things. We are simply His willing vessels being used on mission to distribute the gifts and blessing He has chosen to impart.
It is true that Jesus’ last words to us on this earth were to go into all nations making disciples and baptizing them in His name. He also clearly gave us the honor of being His image bearers. In the entire realm of our lives, it is our calling to live on mission so that people may experience the hope and person of Christ through our lives. But, it is not our ability to impart such gifts; it is His.
Romans 8:31-37 tells us that He is the one who died for us, He is the one who rose again, He is the one that offers salvation and He is the one who guards our life away from the powers of this world. He is the only one with the power, might and grace who can offer hope, healing, change and salvation! In reality, we need to be cognizant of this at all times in our own lives. We are constantly in a state of being saved! Even when we are on mission; He is saving us from ourselves, this world and things outside of this world.
The truth is that when a person moves from the talk, ideas and dreams of being on a mission trip to actually going something happens. That something is quite incredible. They realize that through being willing to serve, willing to go and willing to proclaim the Gospel, God changes them. In those moments, hours, days, weeks, months or even years, God is at work in them.
I know in my own experience that this is true. From my first mission experience in 1993 until now I am the one who seems to come home much more changed and impacted than the lives with which I am working. It is not that we cannot see lives changed and see miracles occur. Many times God grants us the gift of being part of something such as that. Those are the moments we love and cherish. I just wonder how often we love and cherish the moments in which God is changing us.
The reality is that we often look to be heroes and rescuers. But, in fact we forget that we are the rescued and ransomed of the Lord, our hero. We cannot, did not and will not save ourselves, nor anyone else. It is the power of Christ to redeem. It is God who foreknew and called out those whom He would save. So, we must stop “playing God” and allow God to work through our lives and in the lives of others.
Question: What is your greatest mission experience, and how were you impacted?