Don’t Let This Be Your Reason For Going
November 12, 2015
By Matt Morrison
If I ever stay up late scrolling through TV channels, I will inevitably see it. It comes on almost every seven minutes like clockwork. The same commercial with endless images of sad and abused puppies, staring droopy-eyed at the camera while Sarah McLaughlin plays in the background. The next morning, the song is still stuck in my head, a reminder of the sad puppies that the commercial convinced me will die without my monthly pledge of $25.
Let’s face it. Ads like these come on so much because they work. They appeal to both our sense of compassion and obligation. They may be shameless guilt-trips, but they tug at our heartstrings. If we can prevent suffering of any kind, we’ll do it. We need these reminders sometimes to bring things into focus, to remind us of what we’ve been given and our responsibility to do something with it.
These appeals are valid and they have their place. As Christians, any call to compassion on others should move us to action. Jesus calls us to look out for the vulnerable and marginalized. Jesus equates serving “the least of these” with serving him directly. It’s a packaged deal. But should our sense of guilt and obligation be what drives us? Should that be our reason for going into the world and seeking its restoration?
In short, no.
As Christians, we don’t engage our world because of its current brokenness. We engage because of what Christ has already done. We serve the victorious one, who came to end sin and death, who rescues the lost, frees the slave, and feeds the hungry. We know the promises of Scripture and we live in them. At some level, the hope and security that we’ve found in Christ should drive us to share that with others around the world, not from a spirit of obligation but one of joy.
We’re motivated by the vision of what the world can be when we’re fully surrendered to him. Death has already been conquered. The clock is running out on our enemy and brokenness can only last so much longer. We know the slave can find freedom. We believe the orphan isn’t truly alone. We trust the sick can be healed and we know the sinner can be saved. Rather than operating from a place of sorrow and need, we revel in the victory that can and will come.
Our Savior bids us to come and join his campaign to make all things new. It’s an invitation, not an obligation. We play for the winning team and Jesus is calling us off the bench. At the end of the day, missions is a celebration of what God has done. If we call ourselves Christians but don’t join in the party, we miss out on what it means to truly live.
As you experience e3 Partners up close, you know we believe this. You see the joy that’s encapsulated in our imagery. You feel it among the staff in our office. It’s at the very core of our identity and our brand. As we look things in light of the promises of Scripture, we see a different vision of this world – refugees with a home, unreached people groups with churches, and communities transformed. It’s a vision of restoration. We take joy in being a part of it and welcome others to join with us.
I personally felt this joy in September of last year. I had the opportunity to go to Romania, my first overseas mission trip in fourteen years. Truthfully, I was scared and ready to get past it. But then I landed in Bucharest. I met our local partners, worshipped in a rural gypsy church, knelt down and prayed with a penniless widow on her front porch, and led dozens to Christ.
I was thousands of miles away from home. My money was worthless and my grasp on the Romanian language embarrassing. But I felt more alive there than I’ve ever felt in my own daily life. God would have still touched those people, with or without me. In his sovereignty, he would have found someone to do it. But I would have missed out on one of the best experiences of my life, one I’ve been thirsty to relive over and over again.
At the end of the day, God’s purposes will never fail. If you don’t go, someone else will. But why would you want to miss out on truly living?