The American Heritage Dictionary defines a missionary as “one who is sent on a mission, especially one sent to do religious or charitable work in a territory or foreign country”. So, even the dictionary recognizes that a missionary is generally known as someone who goes away from home carrying some form of message to share with the desired people. Too often this is what our Christian culture believes a missionary is: one whom we send out, support financially and maybe, just maybe occasionally pray for. Is this the only kind of missionary there is? Or is it possible for you to be a missionary in your neighborhood, school, or workplace?
This point is crucial to understand before we begin discussing anything about witnessing. Anywhere you go/attend regularly is your mission field. At my high school, there was a sign above the doors entering the hallways saying “You are now entering the mission field.” I used to think it was backwards, but then it hit me, that saying was right on. I was entering my mission field as a student by going into the hallways. There were plenty of unbelievers at my school and they were the ones God wanted me to reach.
Our sub-culture of American Christianity tends to forget about the lost souls just across the street. When you think of an unbeliever, you probably naturally think of someone from a far away country that worships some wooden idol. And yes, no one will argue that this guy doesn’t need Christ. But, are you going to be in contact with him today to reach him with the gospel of Jesus? That’s the point I am trying to make in this post. There are millions of lost souls in the world and we as Christians are called to reach the ones in our sphere of influence today. That’s not to say that you can’t have a burden for the people in the Amazon. And I firmly believe that we should pray for those people now. But if those people are not in your circle of influence now, then I would argue that God hasn’t called you to reach those people right now.
In Matthew 28, Jesus gives His disciples one final command: Go and make disciples of all the nations. I don’t mean to downplay global missions, because it’s a way God brings souls to Himself. But how can you think that God will use you on the “global stage” when you’re not bringing the gospel to your neighbor. We, as Christians, are all on a mission to bring the good news of the gospel to those who have not heard it. So maybe we should focus solely on the first word of Jesus’ command here in Matthew 28: Go.
Go. Go to the grocery store to speak to the clerk that works every Wednesday; go to the park to play soccer with that guy on Saturday mornings; go and find ways to give the gospel of Jesus to those who desperately need it. Because if we don’t go and tell them how will they hear? And if they don’t hear, they’ll spend forever separated from God in Hell. Do you see that this simple word Jesus says has life-altering implications depending on if we choose to obey Him or not.
So the question is: will you go? Will you go develop true friendships with the people in your community? Sure, the easy way is by giving them a tract and never talking to them again. But, I believe the Biblical way is by developing a lasting friendship with them. I understand this is a lot harder than just giving a tract. But how far are you willing to go for the sake of the Kingdom of God? Will you sacrifice your time to invest in a soul that will spend somewhere for eternity? Or will you just go about your day, living as though they don’t even exist?
What I want you to see is that God has placed unbelievers in your path for a reason. He wants you to share His love with them. He wants to use you to further His kingdom. The unbelieving people in your circle of friends is not a coincidence, it’s directly from God. He’s given you that influence for the sole purpose of sharing the gospel message with them. Do you see it now? You are called to reach these people! This is your mission field.
(Tentative Chapter 1 for From French-Fries to the Gospel - Cam Lawson)