Burdens or Benefits

May 17, 2018

  “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 28:19). At the end of the book of Matthew, Jesus told His disciples to spread out and show people what He had done for others. That very spirit of missions has passed through many generations and come to us. As a senior in high school, I was privileged to answer God’s call in Alaska. The word mission should sound familiar to those who profess to be a Christian. Many Christians have been reaching the world and baptizing people in the name of Jesus. On the other hand, some have failed to do such work and it has become a burden in their hearts. What has gone wrong? That was my question when I heard various experiences from my friends. And I figured that the problem was not in the mission itself, but in an individual's perspective on mission. What can you learn and what should you expect from the work of God?
    Speaking of the verse which we read in Matthew, Jesus commanded us to go teach the nations in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. Behind the mission, there is God. That very fact should be the frame of the work. Missions are not about us; they are about God. There is a story about a smart student who thought he knew everything. As a smart, but unwise student, he looked for people to boast of his intelligence to. Shortly, he found a monk whom people admired for his wisdom. Proudly motivated by the monk, the student visited him and started bragging about what he knew about everything he had ever learned. Meanwhile, the monk was pouring tea into a cup. The student’s talk went on and on and the monk kept pouring tea into the cup. Suddenly the student realized that the cup was spilling all over the place. “For what reason are you doing this, sir?” The monk replied, “ Young man, to fill the cup, you need to empty it first.” And I think this is how we should be when we are preparing ourselves for missions. Empty it out. God will fill you with new, valuable things. As God fills you, you will know yourselves better than before. And that is one of the lessons of God’s work: knowing yourself.
    Earlier I mentioned that I had a chance to go to Alaska for a senior mission trip. The beginning of the trip was relaxing, at least for me. As the activities started, I found that I was unconsciously hiding from receiving more work. That was my weakness. Among my classmates, I felt as weak as aluminum foil. I started complaining to myself about doing extra work. The activities went on and I had to pray to overcome my weakness which was laziness. Everyone has weaknesses; so did Jacob in the book of Genesis. Shortly after he wrestled with God, he was blessed for struggling with God and overcoming his weakness. A deceiver became an overcomer in the Lord. The time of struggle might be miserable in the moment; however, struggles are essential soil to grow stronger in God within. The work of God is not an easy task. Difficult or unexpected situations might happen due to your weaknesses. Take that as good news! You can overcome.
    The last lesson I want to mention is about the character of God. Ultimately, Jesus, Who came down as a human being, shows that God truly loves us. Who would send a son to die for sinners? That act of love has given us hope for the future. Since Jesus could not finish His mission on earth, who can do the work that God assigns? We are called. We are chosen to show how loving God is. Among all the missionaries throughout the ages, there was Jesus when people were hurting. Our Great Missionary gave His own life to save us from sin. Blinded by Satan’s tricks, many people on the earth do not even know who Jesus is. God is love. And it is our privilege to know and share Him with others. 
    Have you heard of the blessing cycle? The blessing cycle means you can be blessed by being a blessing and vice versa. It truly is an amazing experience in the mission field. It is a mysterious principle of God. However, this principle will not be effective if we do not act upon God’s word: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” This world is big; and as workers for God, we need more workers for the harvest.