Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Mission Tree

I can't help but view missionary service as a tree. It's a living, breathing, growing thing - I wanted to outline a few verses that shape my understanding of missions.

The Roots:

I love reading the Old Testament through the eyes of a 21st century missionary.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Isaiah 58: 6-8

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Micah 6:8

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

I can't see myself in any ministry that doesn't involve the proclamation of the word of God through humble service, social justice, and "coffee conversation." I love the roots, the spindly things of scripture that point to the coming mission and redemption of the world.

The Trunk:

The trunk of my mission tree is the beatitudes (Matthew 5), the rest of the sermon on the mount(Matthew 5-7), and the 5 times the Great Commission is recorded(Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:46-48, John 20:21-23, Acts 1:8).

Jesus turns the world on its head with his teaching of the Upsidedown Kingdom. And, in all the splendor of his resurrection he gives his disciples the communal call to "go and tell the others." To move beyond the four walls of their hiding place. 10 of the 12 disciples were murdered for proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom where the slave is a brother and a king.

The Branches and Leaves:

These are verses that help "flesh out" the great commission. They help give me a concrete understanding of daily life as a missionary.

Acts 8:26-40
In this passage Phillip shares the faith with a Eunuch, a person that the Old Testament VERY CLEARLY speaks out against. Phillip tears down any remaining wall with signs that read "No __________ allowed." All bets are off - ALL may enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

1 Corinthians 3:5-9
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.

This verse helps me to understand that we all play an important role. Even if we never get the chance to "convert heathen" every moment of every day counts for something.

I hope this gives you a better view of my thoughts on missions.


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