As we love God and get His Word into people’s hearts and lives, we are directly involved in eternal pursuits. Loving God and making Him known through His Word to the nations—that is missions. I can think of no greater or nobler pursuit.
Maintaining this eternal perspective is indeed challenging in the world in which we live, but the alternative—immediate gratification—is overrated and empty. Hearts anchored by an eternal perspective and eternal joy are hearts where missions thrives. Without these anchors, we could not endure the hardships and obstacles of missions or even disregard the embarrassment of language faux pas and cultural snafus.
The prophet Isaiah learned the joy of an eternal perspective. When he caught sight of the eternal God, his response was, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” With the touch of a coal to his lips, Isaiah experienced the magnificence of forgiving grace. From that moment, he eagerly accepted God’s call because he saw that God is worthy and that shaping eternity is worth the sacrifice. When missionaries answer God’s call in their own times, it’s because they see the same things: Our God is worthy, and missions is worth it.
Missions is the very heartbeat of God, and Jesus is the greatest missionary God ever sent to this world. There is no greater thrill than to represent our glorious Savior to the nations. We are ambassadors of Jesus Christ, and that is a very high honor. The missionary Henry Martyn once said, “The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.” Missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs or theological arguments but out of love. Love for God and love for others. God is worthy of this.
The Word of God that remains forever is the vehicle by which people are introduced to the Savior and the life-transforming work of the Holy Spirit. We never lose hope, because the Word lives and abides forever. Because of its eternal power, it will never return void but will accomplish its purposes. It is this Word that is living and active and powerful and brings eternal life change to those quickened by the Spirit.
Life is all about adding value to people created in God’s image. There is profound joy in finding something you have lost. Remember the time you lost your wallet or your keys? The joy and relief you felt after finding them is almost inexpressible. How much more intense is the joy that is experienced when an eternal lost soul is found. There is a cosmic celebration in heaven when just one sinner repents. And missions is the vehicle that transports that hope to the nations. Missions is worth the difficulties and challenges because temporary obstacles pale in comparison to the joy and the glory that will never fade.
Are there trials and struggles involved in missions? Of course there are. Are there burdens and weights to bear? Absolutely. But these temporary sufferings are nothing compared to the joy and glory we will experience for all eternity. Do you want to invest your life into something that will have eternal dividends? Then spend your life—or should I say invest your life—into honoring God by getting His Word into people’s hearts. And isn’t it good to know that this is something all of us can do?
Steve Gault grew up in the Central African Republic (CAR) as a missionary kid. He and his wife, Beth, have served in CAR, Côte d’Ivoire, and Cameroon. Steve is now BMM’s Field Administrator for Africa and Europe.
For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross to redeem mankind. We look to his example as we run the race of missions. Whatever your role in missions, run your race with faith and endurance—joy is at the finish line!
Missionaries leave behind homes and families, but their joy is found in transformed lives.