by Pastor Bill Heffelfinger
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” ~ Acts 1:8
Go to any major Christian conference and it’s bound to happen. You’ll hear a story of a lost soul in faraway (likely impoverished) land, and your heart will break. Your soul will be stirred and you’ll find yourself asking, “God, is this for me? Do you really want me to serve as a missionary?”
The answer, of course, is simple, yet not always what we expect. You see, the answer could very well be that God wants you to serve as a missionary, either as part of a short-term mission or a long-term one. And, that mission could undoubtedly be to a part of the earth you never expected to visit. These are the answers we often “hear” in that moment of high emotion.
But, if we really listen, or more aptly, read God’s Word, it’s easy to find a definitive answer. You see, we are all called to be missionaries. No matter where we are, or where we go, in some sense, we have been “sent” to our current location to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It seems that for some reason, we have created tiers of evangelism. We hold the full-time missionaries in the faraway land at the top. We put ourselves and our everyday lives talking to our friends, family, and neighbors about Jesus at the bottom. And, as a result of this, we often ask ourselves, “God, can you really use me? I mean, I can’t give my entire life to the mission field, so maybe it’s just best for me to write a check for someone else to do it?”
But, perhaps, the reality is that God wants us to be a missionary right where we are. Don’t get this wrong? In no way am I diminishing our responsibility to make disciples of all nations. Our commitment to reaching the lost includes going wherever they may go. Our partnerships with missionaries and missionary organizations are of the utmost importance. Our church-wide missions trip to West Virginia was a dream come true. However, as believers, we must understand Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8, when he said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
There are two major points in those words. First, we are all called to be his witnesses. We don’t need special powers, special education, or even a special “calling.” We are all called. Most of us, at least intellectually, get that. The second point, however, is more often missed. Much too frequently, we jump to the end of the verse and focus on “to the end of the earth.” But, we miss that Jesus starts with our calling “in Jersusalem.” That was an indication to the hearers of this word that they were to be witnesses at home, right where they were.
What if it is our neighbor down the street is needs to hear the gospel? Could it be the mom of your kid’s soccer teammate is your mission field?
The real message of the gospel is that each of us have been saved by the grace of God alone, and with that, we are all called to be bearers of the Good News.
If you have been called to go on an international missions trip, humbly submit yourself to God and watch him do powerful things in and through you. We will partner with you. We will support you. But, if your mission field is the street you live on, the school your children attend, or the soccer team you coach. It’s no less of a calling. Humbly submit yourself to God and watch him do powerful things in and through you. We will partner with and support you just the same. We all have a calling. It’s time for us to live like the missionaries He has called us to be.