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The subject of mission and outreach has sometimes been a source of passionate disagreement among Christian believers. Some Christians believe that they should focus all mission efforts locally. Others believe mission should have more of an international focus. Despite the disagreement, however, most would agree that mission is all about joining Jesus in his work of sharing God’s love and life with others.
Most of us have found that if we want a job done right, we ought to do it ourselves. Yet when it comes to sharing his love with the world, God invites us to participate with him. And as we do, we can share in his joy of seeing others realize that God loves them, wants them and includes them. We can share in the excitement of people seeing the truth of who God is for them and who they are in him. And we can, as Jesus lives in us, give his encouragement, comfort and hope to others as we are able.
God doesn’t need our help, of course, but he shares all of this with us as part of his love. In fact, in our weakness, we often do a poor job of making Jesus known, but the Holy Spirit is with us and the real job of mission is done by God in spite of our shortcomings. Our imperfection should motivate us all the more, because in our brokenness we can feel the pain and need of others for the love, peace and rest of the gospel.
We don't have to look far to see where we reach out as the feet and hands of Jesus. We live in a world full of hurt, and therefore a world full of opportunities to show the kindness of God to others. God doesn’t have to create special mission opportunities for us. By the very nature of this broken life, both the church and the world around us continually provide those opportunities. I believe this was what Paul was alluding to in Galatians 6:10 when he wrote, “…we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially those who are of the household of faith.”
Mission, then, is life. Wherever we go, everywhere we look, there are people in need. We can’t do everything for everyone, and sometimes we’re the ones who need someone else’s kindness ourselves. But as we are able, as Jesus gives us strength and opportunity, the Holy Spirit will stand with us as we extend God’s love to others.
Our service in Jesus might manifest itself in a variety of ways. Our focus might be specifically on a need within the local community. For others, it might mean being involved in an international mission. And for some, it might mean a bit of both. The point is, there is plenty to do for everyone.
It’s always exciting to go where we see the need and where God opens the doors. There is no greater joy than the joy of extending kindness and good news to others. That’s the way God is, and it’s the way he made us.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.