noun1. an act of going to a place and returning; a journey or excursion, especially for pleasure.
Especially for pleasure…
When Jesus sent out the 72 disciples to take the gospel to the lost sheep of Israel, Jesus did not say that he was sending them on a pleasure cruise. In fact,
Go your way; behold, I send you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no provisions bag, no [change of] sandals; refrain from [retarding your journey by] saluting and wishing anyone well along the way. Whatever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this household! [Freedom from all the distresses that result from sin be with this family]. And if anyone [worthy] of peace and blessedness is there, the peace and blessedness you wish shall come upon him; but if not, it shall come back to you. And stay on in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. Whenever you go into a town and they receive and accept and welcome you, eat what is set before you; And heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come close to you. But whenever you go into a town and they do not receive and accept and welcome you, go out into its streets and say, Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we are wiping off against you; yet know and understand this: the kingdom of God has come near you. -Luke 10:3-11
Jesus immediately tells the disciples that He is sending them out like lambs in the midst of wolves. He then proceeds to tell them that when they go into a town and are not welcomed, to dust off their feet and move on. Jesus doesn’t say “if” anywhere in this passage. He clearly states that there will be visible fruit from sharing the gospel. What people often forget is that rejection is also a fruit of the gospel. It is considered bad fruit or fruit of the flesh, but since the Word of God is a double-edged sword that divides, then naturally you will have either acceptance or rejection of God’s truth. There is no in-between. In scripture it does not state that those who are apathetic are in a different category. It says you are either for God or you are against Him. Apathy is just a lukewarm state where people believe they are warm/hot when in reality they are cold and dying.
These disciples that were sent out in Luke, were charged with bringing peace to those who were worthy, and a warning for those who rejected peace. The disciples were not allowed to take provisions or extra clothes with them, and were charged with trusting in the words of Christ for their provision.
In western culture, many missionaries want to go on a trip or have an experience, in order to decide whether they feel as though God is calling them to preach His word to those who have not heard it. The problem with that kind of thinking is that it assumes that God thinks that Christians and Missionaries are two different things. People start to think that “being a missionary” is like one of the spiritual gifts when, in fact, all the spiritual gifts are different tools for the body to use in order to do mission work here on earth. Some teach, some preach, some do miracles, some heal the sick, some speak in tongues, some interpret, etc. All of these gifts were designed to display a portion of the power and authority of God so that His people, His Church, His body, could share HIS good news with everyone that has ears to hear.
Mission work isn’t a simple trip where we can go explore different countries, have an emotional experience, go on an adventure, and then return home unchanged. Missions is the work of God, for the lost sheep of this earth. There will be spiritual and emotional experiences. There will be chances to return home (maybe), and there will be visible and good fruit sometimes, but more often than not, there will be more rejection and disbelief than we realize.
It is time to stop looking at mission work, whether short-term, or full-term, as trips and start understanding that our sole purpose on this earth is to bring glory to the one who made us. A trip suggests that we can return to wherever we came from. The life of a Christian says, “There is no going back.” We run the race, always moving forward, to win the prize of spending eternity with Jesus Christ, and along the way….we GET to invite others into the family. That is what Missions is. It is not a trip. It is the reason we exist on this earth and it is our sole purpose until these bodies die and we are united with Christ forever.
Do not trade eternity for an experience