Saturday, November 10, 2007
WHO REALLY BENEFITS FROM THE MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE?
The Sender I’d Say
I’ve heard missionaries say, including myself, on more than one occasion, “We’ve received far more from our work experience in the field than what we’ve given”. The Lord uses the ones we serve to bless us in more ways than one.
Bolivia has changed my wife and I profoundly, for the better I hope. At the cost of sounding overly romantic about Bolivians and their situation, I’d say that their courage and drive to not only survive but to try and get ahead in seemingly impossible situations has touched us deeply, on several levels. We're not only more respectful of other cultures & religions but also more passionate about evangelism.
This might sound radical but maybe the point of missions is to change the missioner and the church which sent him or her.
Peter in Acts 10 was sent by the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel to Cornelius, a Gentile God fearer. The Holy Spirit has already prepared Cornelius and his family to receive Christ. And while Peter is explaining the gospel, the Holy Spirit gets on with job of filling Cornelius. Peter is stunned; it’s a huge learning experience for Peter. Gentiles were going to be a part of God’s people, like it or not. God sent Peter to Cornelius’s home to broaden his understanding of the chosen people to include the Gentiles. Peter then uses his learning experience to instruct the Jerusalem church to not only edify the church but to also open its doors to the Gentiles in Acts 11 & 15.
Missionary Experiences As A Resource
Here’s another example. The Church in Jerusalem sends Barnabas to help and ratify the goings on in the first recorded Gentile church at Antioch in Acts 11. And of course it’s the Jerusalem church that gets blessed from the younger church. The Church at Antioch raise an offering for the folk in Judea during a drought.
Missionary experiences in the field are an important teaching resource for sending churches. Are we using them?