Biblegateway again. Today staying just outside the gate and looking in – “Verse Of The Day” …
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV
I follow a blog of a missionary here on WordPress. A missionary who lives and works in the country I have always regarded as our holiday destination. A fun place. A modern country with an ancient past. A country like mine. A country just four hours flying time away. This country is Turkey. And I follow the blog of “a missionary” … in Turkey … ?
That is hard for my small brain to accommodate.
But I am learning that being a missionary is not just about spouting the bible, not just singing hymns, not just being in church all the time, nor about healing all the sick and curing the lame. It is not about hardship and deprivation – nor is it only “working” with those who are destitute and unhappy.
It is about relationship. It is about “normal” living. It is about living with purpose. It is about fun, sadness, spontaneity, tiredness, having money, having no money, plans coming to fruition, plans being dashed, moments of danger, hours of boredom, it is about being connected AND being alone. It is about all the things I have in my own life – it is my own life.
So does that make me a missionary – does that make you a missionary?
Following BJ’s blog of mission (The River Walk) has not given me any inclination to become a missionary. Following BJ’s blog is showing me that I am already a missionary – that we are ALL missionaries. If we have a faith and are alive – we are missionaries.
It’s just that (over here) I am taught that “missionaries” are over there. I am taught that “over here” is a Christian Country and we have no need of missionaries. I am taught that when I leave the church building I do outreach. And that is different. That is Kingdom Work.
But mostly I am taught that we get the unchurched to church – to fill the building – to fill the pews – to sing the hymns – to read the bible – to pray the prayers – to fill our collection plates – to fund our (now your) good work – to be saved – and to pay the price for being saved … to carry the cross of burden … to give up so much … to come together to praise and worship our King (formal or smart-casual only please, and don’t sit in anyone else’s seat).
BJ has taught me that missionaries live. Just as I do. He has taught me that relationship and presence is living. Just as I can every day. He has taught me that working and earning is living. Just as I do every day. He has taught me that God is in him. Just as He is in me. It’s just he is a missionary – and I am not.
BJ is teaching me that our “go-to” country for holidays is no different than where I live and work and live every day we are not on holiday. It’s just that “they” need missionaries and we don’t. But most of all …
BJ is teaching me that I am a missionary. He is teaching me that if I live with God I am.
I am learning that church is not a building – it is not even “the people”. I am learning that church is a state of mind. I am learning that the “unchurched” often spend more time in church than Christians ever do. I am finding that those I am taught are unchurched frequently care less. And I am seeing that in caring less – I care more – I am more involved – more “out there” – less “in here”.
And – just like “churches” – the unchurched-already-in-church come in all shapes and sizes, all motivations and lethargies, all fired up and all worn out, and rarely static.
I am learning that living is church – and living is what I do every day – no matter where I am.
My small brain frequently needs things to made simple before I get it.
And this is simple –
“But just as he who called you is Love, so be Love in all you do; for it is written: “Be Love, because I am Love.” Leviticus 11:44 (almost)