I used to think that missionaries were people who had to have it all together. People who had their life intact, had sorted out all of their issues (if they even had any to begin with), and could successfully navigate their way through the difficulties of life with ease. All while remaining thankful and joyous and always having love in their hearts for everyone... Wow. Now as I write this I’m realising what high standards I had put on those who are agents of God’s mission.
But isn’t that often our excuse for not wanting to get involved? I’m not a good enough Christian. I have lots of problems. I don’t love people enough… The list goes on.
But really, is there anyone who lives up to the standard of that perfect missionary?
Last year as a Haerenga intern in Fiji I became very aware of how I don’t and never will match up to the standards I had for what a missionary should be. It quickly became obvious that I am a messed up individual. I soon began to see myself as the least qualified person there was to be showing God’s love to these Fijian people.
The more time I spent with God and learnt about him, the more I became aware of my brokenness. My insecurities, my failings, my fears, my lack of trust… Who was I to share God’s precious Word with his people?
But that’s just it. We are all broken. Who is more qualified to reach out to broken people than broken people?!
Like Scott Boren says, “The Spirit of God is playing a rhythm through community where the personal weaknesses, brokenness, and pain are not things that have to be fixed in order for the community to work but instead are the very things the Spirit redeems and uses to impact our world.”
As Christians, we are no higher than anyone else. We join all humanity in our sin and incompleteness. But the difference is that in Jesus we are made whole. He fills in all our imperfections, flaws and struggles. We are scarred but complete in him. In reaching out to others as broken people we are admitting that we can’t do it alone but only by the strength of Jesus within us.
Our brokenness shows others how much we need God in order to be made whole. “Here we stare fully at the incredible, wonderful mystery of God: he can use what the world sees as weakness for the salvation of creation.”
Have feelings of not being qualified enough ever stopped you from joining in on God’s mission?
(For more see M Scott Boren, Missional Small Groups: Becoming a Community That Makes a Difference in the World.)
Take note of all the times this week when you 'unqualify' yourself to be a part of God's mission. In these times remind yourself of your qualification as a broken person reaching out to broken people and of your completeness in Jesus.
Alicia is currently a student at Laidlaw College who is passionate about finding God in the simple things. She loves worship and Fiji and has a wonderful mother who has helped her every step of the way. This year she is doing a ministry internship with NZCMS.
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