I may have offended some this past weekend with my departure from the rules that govern our use of the English language.
In my defense, we do have a lot of rules to be mindful of.
“Do not end a sentence with a preposition.”
“Do not split your infinitives.” (The most famous split infinitive comes from Star Trek: …to boldly go where no man has gone before.
“Do not begin your sentences with a conjunction.”
AND as for the rule, I broke…
“Avoid double negatives.”
Well, I did. I broke that last rule into a thousand pieces and did not bother to even try to put it back together.
It was only one sentence, but it was one of the main points in my sermon.
This past Sunday was a special day to reflect on missions. Missions, in my working definition, include all of the ministry and projects we do or fund that seeks to bring people into the Kingdom of God.
You could correctly say that about 98% of what we do here at the church has a connection to missions.
My gross misuse of the English language occurred when I made this statement:
You are NEVER NOT a missionary.
I apologize to any English teacher who feels the need to scrub their ears clean after hearing that or wash their eyeballs after reading it.
But it’s true. It may not be the best way to express such a glorious claim, but that does not negate the fact that this is the truth.
On the evening of the resurrection, while the disciples were huddled together behind locked doors, Jesus came to them and commissioned them.
“As the father has sent me, I am sending you.”
He wasn’t just talking to those few who were gathered there at that moment. Jesus IS talking to us, his 21st-century followers, present-day disciples, Christians.
To take the words of Jesus seriously, we have to take them personally.
The Father sent his Son into the world to save us.
Jesus is sending us to the world to witness to the salvation we have received and preach salvation to the perishing.
Jesus sends us. We are his missionaries. Every one of us!
In church life, we give special esteem to those who have answered the call of God to be missionaries in foreign lands, and rightly so. I admire deeply the sacrifices made, and the complete consecration of one’s life, that is necessary to live as a missionary in a foreign country.
But the term “Missionary” needs to be more broadly applied. We are missionaries if we are followers of Christ. He might not have called us to a far away land, but be calls us none the less.
As a Christian, you are a missionary whether you have a passport or not.
As a believer, you are an ambassador for Christ wherever you go.
As a child of God you represent your Heavenly Father every moment.
We are missionaries. Some of us serve in the neighborhoods we grew up in. Some of us have traveled a little farther.
The point is, be faithful wherever God has sent you.
To be a missionary where you are is just as important as being a missionary on the other side of the planet. God has given us all the opportunities we need, right here and right now, to make an impact on our community and our country.
And if God calls to you, to send you from here to some place he has in mind for you, be ready, be available, and be willing to serve him. It is only in faithfully serving him here, there, and everywhere, that we truly get to know him and grow in our love for him.