I don’t know how many of you have ever been on a mission trip, but I am sure that all that have could tell stories that would bring you to tears. There is something about stepping outside of the familiar that causes this medical phenomenon: your actually leave part of your heart with those you traveled to see! Okay, so maybe it is not a “medical” phenomenon but it truly is amazing. It starts as you pull away and continues as you return home. You begin to see the blessings you have and the problems you face differently. However, you know the saying- “time heals all things?” Well, I would adjust that to- “time dulls all things,” and that is also true with missions. We have a tendency to fall back into the comfortable as we return to the routine of our familiar.
I have often wondered how to combat this dulling effect. Many have tried support groups, Bible studies, prayer meetings, even wearing a wristband to remind us of what God has done. For Jacob, in Genesis, it was building altars. Four times we see God encounter Jacob and his response to be, “I will build an altar to remember what God as done”. And while Jacob did return to these places to remember, He also ran away from these same places back into what was familiar. It wasn’t until GOD CHANGED HIM that we see the part of the story we all love. Please don’t misunderstand me- support groups, Bible studies, prayer meetings and even the wristbands are great tools to help remember just like the altars Jacob built. But, my point is that it is not until GOD HAS CHANGED US that you will see the story of God that we love in our own lives.
When we allow that change to occur in our own lives we will stop seeing ourselves as anything but His. And it is when that occurs that our lives become the Mission. It becomes less important to us where we go because we know that wherever we go, we will live the mission. That is really the Great Commission after all, isn’t it?
Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The commission was to go to all, not just those in a foreign land for one week a year. Not just to the orphan, to the diseased, to the poor but to ALL. Our missions don’t end when we return home, they simply continue to the rest of that ALL.