OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)–The journey to the mission field had been taxing. Even with modern transportation, it took us several days to arrive at our final destination. Cancelled flights, ticket errors and equipment failures contributed to our frustration. Despite the challenges, we were excited to team up with International Mission Board missionaries for a short-term mission assignment.
Once the jet lag wore off, we were ready to do our best assisting the missionaries. The difficulties we faced getting to the mission field paled in comparison to the challenges these heroes of the faith faced on a daily basis. Their calling kept them in the fray. They learned long ago there is no guarantee of comfort in a calling.
Their enthusiasm for sharing the Gospel was contagious. No circumstance was taken for granted. Interaction was not considered an accident. Their sensitivity to God at work in the lives of people was obvious. They were there to make a difference. Every minute of every day was an opportunity to plant gospel seeds into the lives of those who came their way.
Our role was simple — use the novelty of our skin color and nationality to engage the locals into discussion, and if the Spirit led, provide them with a Gospel of John, present the Gospel through an interpreter and invite them to a weekly Bible study.
The experience was exhilarating. The power of the Holy Spirit was with us wherever we went. Opportunities to share our faith were plentiful. The hunger for truth and the life-changing message of Jesus demonstrated the need for more messengers of the Good News. The response to His story was refreshing to our faith.
Within a matter of days, the Gospel had been shared with hundreds of people. The potential for new Bible studies and churches was huge. We walked among the fields white unto harvest. We were given the privilege of reaping the benefits of those who had gone before us planting the seeds and fertilizing the soil of souls in search of God and the meaning of life. We planted a few seeds of our own, but without question, the labor of those who had gone before us resulted in a harvest with eternal rewards — rewards that for those who planted may never be recognized until the beneficiary and the planter meet in Heaven.
Our journey was successful. But satisfaction was not our motivation. Thousands of Southern Baptist missionaries throughout the world wake up every morning with a calling on their lives. They realize the day may not bring comfort or satisfaction, but it brings an opportunity for planting seeds and reaping a harvest.
As Christians, we are all missionaries. God has put us in a unique setting to be about our Father’s business. Our calling is never more fulfilled than when we engage people with the life-changing message of Christ. Whether we interact with a neighbor over our backyard fence, ride a bus with a complete stranger or speak through an interpreter in a foreign country, our calling is the same. We are messengers with news certain to changes lives, forever.
Ray E. Sanders is executive editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger, online at www.BaptistMessenger.com