Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Divine Assistant

The typical image of clueless missionary efforts is the opening scene of The African Queen; missionaries that try to impose culture instead of bringing a culture-transcending message. (A great movie by the way, you should definitely check it out, especially if you entire experience of the film has been seeing this opening scene in seminary or Bible College.)

US attitudes in modern missions can be just as misguided. Our pragmatic philosophy, our work ethic driven ethos, can cause us to believe in a self-sufficient, step-by-step, if-you-just-work-hard-enough-it-will-happen approach. Countless trees have given their lives to spread the word in endless church planting strategy manuals that seem to come along every few months and have ever shorter sell-by-dates stamped on them.

If someone is called by God to do cross-cultural missions, we should not assume that it is because they have something special to contribute to the effort. It may be that God wants them to be a part of something so beyond them that He alone will receive the glory for what is accomplished.

God is already at work amongst the lost all around the world. He wants assistants—not to help Him reach these lost people, but to be used for His glory as He reaches them. Often the role of a missionary is to merely be in the right place at the right time with their eyes wide open. Instead, too often we have “highly-trained” and “qualified” people too busy trying the “latest-greatest-methods” to notice that God is already at work inviting them to join Him.

If you can do what you have been called to do, or anyone can do it if they just work hard enough and with enough expertise, then it is not missions.

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