Monday, December 31, 2012

Unintentional Missionaries

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution…traveled…telling the message…telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.  The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord” Acts 11:19-21.

Without the persecution of the early church they would have remained all together in one place, limiting the impact of the message.  The spiritual impact of those Christians was in direct correlation with the their experience of fear and challenges.  Christians were being arrested, stoned, murdered and shown as examples of those taking a public stand for Christianity.  Many had to abandon their comfort in the name of God’s work and seek refuge into unchartered territories.  But these territories held opportunities to spread God's message.  God was very close to these faithful servants who would not be silenced, enabling and sustaining them.

I cannot help but to consider that we are in some ways similar to those early Christians.   We see Christians every day suddenly faced with life threatening circumstances, wherein their comfort is abandoned.  Challenges such as medical issues, relational estrangements and financial devastation force us into unchartered territories.  Our circle of influence scatters from church meetings to medical waiting rooms.  Our discussions move from upcoming vacations to impending procedures or proceedings.  We find ourselves in a new land…a land where we can make an impact.  Through our difficult circumstances we become unintentional missionaries. 

I have a wonderful friend and spiritual mentor who met me for lunch one day.  Her husband resides in a medical facility and demands much time in addition to her full time job, and many other responsibilities.  She is an amazing woman of God and I value my time spent with her.  When I asked how she was handling her gruesome schedule and constant need to be at the facility, she stated something that landed in the middle of my faith and completely expanded my view of serving God.  She said, ‘I trust God for my service, and this facility is my mission field.’

She is an unintentional missionary serving in a land she never could have imagined.  She is making an impact where her suffering took her, and so must we.  This was the way of the early church and must be the way of the 2013 church.  God will use our testimonies in the land wherever our adversity takes us, if we are willing to view our challenges as mission fields.

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