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Tim Mills

Duty Is Not Enough

“For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Missions is hard. It’s hard because people are sinners. And by “people” I mean you and me. It’s hard because there are sacrifices involved—big ones at times. And we are born complainers.

I learned this lesson from my daughter, who is sitting next to me on an airplane as I write this. After meeting Joni Eareckson Tada 24 hours ago (which my daughter thoroughly loved), she just gave me the “are you serious?” look, when she learned that she doesn’t get a window seat on the plane.

Sometimes we lose sight of the big picture. We inspect our sacrifices with a magnifying glass and fail to look upward to the cross, where our Savior shed His blood and received wrath on our behalf.

Despite this, we persevere. At least I did for the first term of my mission service. I was a missionary on mission. I had a mission. We were at war, and I was a soldier. Others might not step up to the call, but I did.

But as sinners sinned (including me) and complainers complained (including me), my duty-driven missions began to wear. A crisis moment could have led to quitting—or even worse—continuing as “the angry missionary” serving people like a cafeteria lady spooning out slop with a frown on her face.

But God in His grace reminded me that missions goes beyond duty. It goes beyond “grin and bear it.” Jesus did more than “grin and bear it” on the cross. The Father more than begrudgingly sent His son. And so we too are to both send as the Father sent—with joy empowered by love —and be sent as the Son was sent—with joy empowered by love.

This stubborn sinner finally learned the lesson. Part of the eternal life that Jesus bought for those who believe is the eternal joy of serving God's eternal purpose of salvation. This all flows from His eternal love.

Yes, missions is hard, but God’s love is enough.

 

Michael Oh is a keynote speaker for the 2017 PCA Global Missions Conference, Nov. 10-12 in Dallas, Texas. Learn more about the conference at mtw.org/gmc.

This was originally published in The Journey devotional in 2013. 

Michael Oh, Reflection Apr 27, 2017
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