18 October 2017
Reading: Job 3; Acts 8-9
Forced to leave home base, the followers of Jesus all became missionaries. Wherever they were scattered, they preached the Message about Jesus. (Acts 8:4 MSG)
As Saul’s persecution of the church intensified, many Christ-followers fled Jerusalem. Many of them took refuge in the rural towns and villages of Judea and some even went into Samaria to escape the house-to-house raids Saul was leading.
These (ordinary) believers (people like you and me) became missionaries everywhere they went. They simply cared about the people they met (people who Jesus had said were like sheep without a shepherd) and told the stories of how Jesus had changed their lives. And told the truth that Jesus was still changing lives!
In our compartmented way of thinking, missionaries are a particular sub-set of Christ-followers. We think of missionaries as “special” Christians who take “special” training and then go to another nation or culture to win people to faith in Christ. Likewise we think of evangelists as “special” people with a “special” gift and calling who are trained to convert others to faith in Christ.
It’s exciting to me that with the help of a change thinking we can realize that we’re all called to be missionaries and evangelists who can simply Love our neighbors and Be good neighbors (or coworkers, or students or teachers or EMT’s or mechanics or cashiers or managers) and Tell our Jesus stories to others we interact with.
Christ-followers who travel the world or who travel next door can all be missionaries. It’s just a matter of being ourselves and taking the simple opportunities the Holy Spirit puts in our way as we go.
Father, Thank you for a change in our thinking about Missions and Evangelism that is bringing us closer to the way things were done in the Book of Acts. And thank you that this time it’s not only painful persecution but also Holy Spirit inspiration that is making it happen. Help us to learn to better cooperate with your Spirit to do your Kingdom’s work. Help us to all become missionaries. Amen.