by Elisha Lim
The first step towards a greater interest in missions was to dispel some misconceptions I had about missions. I used to think that missionary work was reserved for the few who would be chosen specifically by God to do the work. This led me to believe that people who are involved in missions had to be “super-Christians.” Also, my understanding of missions was confined to only cross-cultural work.
The Lord was gracious in revealing my follies. He taught me that the last directive Jesus gave before His ascension into heaven (known as the Great Commission) applied to every believer, and not just a chosen, privileged few. This understanding made me realized that I did not have to wait till I was a “super-Christian” before I could embark on this discipling process. I also noted that this verse is a directive for all believers to follow and not just a request. Moreover, I also came to the understanding that I simply cannot keep the knowledge of our Lord’s saving grace all to myself (Matt 5:15a).
There were times in my life that I wondered if our age of technological and economical advancements have served to do more evil than good. For it seems to me that with the availability of news in our homes via mass media comes also a desensitisation on our part towards the sufferings of mankind. We no longer recognise the pain and feelings of utter loss and desolation when we witness sciences of war and conflict through the television. We hardly feel the hunger and desperation of starving and homeless people because they seem so far away. I would even go further to suggest that our apathy to the plight of these people is a deliberate response on our part, in that we free ourselves from the responsibility to care for the underprivileged. Even in our daily encounters with our friends and colleagues, we fail to recognise their desperate and lonely cries for acceptance and love.
In these groups of people, we fail to realize that only Jesus can meet their deepest needs for assurance of salvation and that we may be the only proclaimers of the good news to them. Realizing these facts helped me to have a greater desire to reach out to the lost individuals who deserve the love of Jesus as much as I do. Indeed, “Christ died for our sins once for all” (1 Pet 3:18), and I have no right to withhold this God-given gift for people to know Him.
Another factor that contributed to my increasing interest in missions is adequate exposure. On several occasions, I have had the privilege of meeting up with missionaries over a meal. Interestingly, in every conversation I had with them, I am always awestruck by their testimonies of God’s goodness and faithfulness to see them through trying moments. All these accounts made a deep impression on my heart. I realized God means business in reconciling His people to Himself. It spurs me on to be like Him.
Personally, I found talks and programs organised by missions agencies on missions awareness very helpful. They are a source of information and assurance to me. I found one particular talk on tent-making very interesting. The talk helped me realize how I could employ my acquired skills and knowledge for the extension of God’s kingdom. I also heard accounts of churches being “co-labourers” by supplying the the needs of the missionaries. That warmed my heart very much, because I know that any person who goes into full-time ministry would not be alone, and that they would have the full backing of others who will support them in every aspect.
Statistics show that only a third of the world’s population has been reached with the gospel. There is still a lot of work to be done in terms of evangelising, and I know that God has given us the privilege of being co-labourers with Him in this task. We as Christians have already received His mercy and love. Shouldn’t we consider extending this gift to others as well?
Adapted from the “Missions Conference ‘94” booklet, a 1994 BCC production