Let me ask you, “What is your calling? How many of you are members of a church? How many are ministers in that church? How many consider yourselves to be missionaries of that church? Most would say they are members. Some would say they are ministers; but only a few would say they are missionaries
The Apostle Paul wrote these words in Ephesians 4:1, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” (NIV).
In our tradition we are taught that there is one calling for those who would be full-time ministers, usually missionaries or pastors, and another calling for the lay person. Yet, when I read the Bible, I do not find this distinction. There is only one calling of God.
There is only one vocation to which we have all been called. As followers of Jesus we are all missionaries. We are all on mission. Each one of us are called according to His purpose. Are we not? If not, then Romans 8:28 does not apply to all of us. Paul writes in the verse, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, those who have been called according to his purpose.” Yes, Paul told Timothy to set aside and appoint elders in the churches, and in his letter to Timothy, he explained the qualifications for those who would serve as elders and deacons. However, he never said they were to be a different class of believers. There is no distinction, in terms of their calling, between those who serve as elders and those who serve in other capacities in the churches.
Jesus called out twelve men to be His Apostles; but he never required of them anything different from what He required of all those who desired to follow Him. To everyone, Jesus said, “If any man would follow me, let him take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 NIV)
There are Spiritual gifts and each believer is given a different set of gifts to serve the Body. We see this in Romans 12, 1Corinthians 12 and 14, and in Ephesians 4 that different gifts are given to each person for the purpose of serving and building up the Body of Christ. Yes, there are different gifts for different functions within the Body. This is how the Body functions as a Body. The only difference between these gifted people is the function or purpose they serve in the Body. Their calling however is the same!
Our calling is to follow Christ and to make disciples everywhere we go. I would submit to you that everyone reading this blog who has committed to your life to Jesus Christ is called to be on mission! In other words, we are called to be a missionary – every single one of us, regardless of our function or spiritual gift. We are called to be on mission and to be about the Father’s business and advance His Kingdom on earth.
If our calling is to advance God’s Kingdom by making disciples, how are we doing? Are we making disciples? How are we doing in our mission? Look at what Paul said to the Corinthian church:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-20 NIV)
God called me, not just to be missionary in a foreign country, but He called me to be on mission everywhere I go. Romans 8:28 applies to me. I am the “called according to His purpose.” If God is calling me, what does He should I do? Where does He want me to go? What does He want me to do within that calling?
I am confident God will reveal the details of the where, the when, the what and the how of your missionary service and my missionary service as we respond in obedience to Him, as we say “Yes! Yes, I will submit to You Lord!” Paul wrote:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)
God’s will for you is to be on mission for Him. I pray you will all discover how to release the missionary within you!