Summary: Jesus did not restrict himself to the wealthy or the healthy. He did not restrict himself to those he knew but reached out to people of all nationalities of His time. He reached out to religious and non-religious people to Jews and Gentiles, to pagans and
Mission Awareness Sunday
Today we celebrate the Call to Missions with Presbyterian Churches across Canada. It is an opportunity for us to focus on what God has called us to and the success and continued need for us to be vigilant in our efforts since the world remains a place that needs the message of Jesus Christ and the compassion of missionaries.
I spent some time researching our national web site to become familiar with where and what we do around the world. I have learned this; we are involved in over 30 countries including our own where we provide financial, material and spiritual resources to peoples in need. We focus on Canadian Ministries, International Ministries, Mission education, Presbyterian World Service & Development PWS&D and The Womens Missionary Society.
To many of you this is old news but to me it is exciting and interesting to see that Presbyterians are indeed very active and involved in The Great Commission. This has been going on since 1875 and continues to this day largely because you care.
Jesus has taught us by His example to be a people that care about others. Jesus did not restrict himself to the wealthy or the healthy. He did not restrict himself to those he knew but reached out to people of all nationalities of His time. He reached out to religious and non-religious people to Jews and Gentiles, to pagans and believers.
Last week I suggested we need to reach out to our neighbors. Jesus told us that this was one of the most important parts of what we believe. Matthew 22: 37
37Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. [b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. [c] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
For many of us our mission field is at our doorstep and across the street. But in these days I wonder how effective are we being? Do we communicate Gods love in such a way that others are drawn to Jesus?
I have participated as a missionary here in Canada on our East Coast and in a foreign mission field in Zambia Africa where I will return in 2009. They were very different kinds of work but they were both missions. The one in Canada involved helping out a church that needed repair in a rural community in Prince Edward Island. The work in Zambia involved working with orphaned children whose parents had died from the AIDS epidemic.
My most satisfying mission work was while I was a police officer. You see I had no agency that sponsored me and I had no church that commissioned me. I was just an excited new Christian filled with a desire to tell people about Jesus and to be a blessing to others. That is the kind of missionary that God has called each one of us to be.
You may be surprised to learn that you have been this kind of missionary without even realizing it. The little seemingly small, insignificant things that you have done over the years have in fact been multiplied by God’s love and His hands to become great accomplishments that have touched hundreds even thousands of lives.
Maybe you baked cookies or muffins to help with a fund-raiser. God then takes your gift and adds his blessing. The cookies and muffins become a dollar and the dollar becomes a pair of shoes or a pair of pants or a skirt that clothes a needy child. It could be that the dollar becomes a text book or a bible or a vaccine that saves a life. It could be that the dollar becomes part of many others that send a missionary to the field to be your hands and feet to reach out to a person or child in need.
What we see here is the power of the loaves and fishes at work. John 6:1-14
Jesus takes our small seemingly inadequate gift and multiplies it a thousand times over. This can only occur when we put our gifts into Jesus hands. This calls for wisdom because there are many people asking you for money who do not put the money into Jesus hands. Instead they line their own pockets and forget those who depend on the missionary. They will be judged.
We must faithfully give and administer that which has been given so that when we surrender the gift to Jesus it can be used to touch the largest number of people. Ask yourself how your life has changed since you know Jesus? List the benefits you have enjoyed as a result of a relationship with Jesus. Would you want others to know the depth and breadth of the joy you know through Jesus Christ? Or do you think it is just some coincidence that Gods love has fallen on you?