Your Community, Your Mission Field
Have you ever found yourself wondering what your purpose is? What does God want you to be doing? For many of us,
when we ask that question we begin to look around and compare ourselves to great Christian leaders around us and we feel inadequate.
We think only the Billy Grams of this world are truly “called” of God to anything special. We see the contributions of others as far outweighing anything we have to offer and we get side-tracked from what God does have in mind for us. The comparison game will never help us find our place in this world.
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ - Matthew 22:34-39
In the passage above, Jesus sums up our whole duty in two great commandments: Love God with your whole being, and then share that love with everyone you come in contact with.
When you look at our duty in that light, it seems almost too simple. We want a defined checklist of tasks and a job title instead of the constant vigilance it takes to build relationships and truly love even those who are rather unlovable. We want something that will make us feel self-fulfilled instead of learning to be a self-sacrificing servant.
The truth is we need to view the community God has placed us in as a mission field. We need to ask God to show us how to demonstrate His love in our homes, to our children, to our spouses, and to our guests. Then we need to view our jobs and community groups as places to demonstrate godly love and care to everyone we meet.
We need to be kind-hearted and forgiving neighbors who are open and friendly. We need to see our schools and towns as vital places to serve and jump in wherever we’re needed to help love those who are struggling. We need to be vital parts of our communities so that we truly can be light and salt as Jesus told us.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:13-16
In short, we need to love people the way God loved us, even when we didn’t deserve it.
So, how does this change your view of your community? Can you see it as a mission field? Can you identify your roles in your community and see how God would like to use you?
For many of us, we may never be called to travel to a foreign country to share God’s love. We may never be asked to preach the good news to thousands of people at a time. But, we are called to simply love God and then share that love with our community.
So, this week, spend lots of time with the One who loves you so much He sent His one and only Son to die for you and praise Him for that love. Then go, and be the only smiling face your cashier has seen all day. Be the listening ear when your neighbor needs to talk. Catch up with an old friend and encourage them. Take a meal to that new mom down the street.
Do your best work on whatever task you’re assigned, even if it feels mundane. Forgive your sister, even if she doesn’t deserve it. Be kind to that coworker who has been getting under your skin for weeks. Share what God has been doing in your life with whoever will listen. Then know that you are accomplishing God’s will for your life: loving God and loving each other.
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. - Deuteronomy 30:11-14
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children. Ephesians 5:1
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10