As a child, I was in church every time the doors were open so I have many vivid memories of all of the ways the Gospel message was interpreted to me. The ones I can recall the quickest are all of the visits from our church’s missionaries to Africa and Papua New Guinea (who seemed to be “home on furlough” way too often for my comfort). I remember squirming in my seat as they told stories of bathing in the local rivers with the elephants and having boa constrictors visit them in their houses—all in the name of Jesus and fulfilling the Great Commission.
I distinctly remember concluding that “no, not everyone was meant to be a missionary,” and if I just didn’t walk the aisle at the end of the service or completely give my heart to the Spirit’s leading, then I wouldn’t have anything to worry about. Maybe He couldn’t use or send me if I was only 70% committed to the spreading of the Gospel…
The Lord has been kind enough to bring me to a more mature level in my understanding of who He is and what He requires of me as His child. Micah 6:8 puts it this way: “He has shown you, oh man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” I, myself, have never been “called” to the mission fields of Africa, but when I “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God,” I can rest in His leading and I can see a lost and dying world through His loving eyes instead of my selfish ones. I no longer fear the idea of “going into all the world and making disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) because if that is what He has asked me to do, then He will completely equip me to go. But for today, He has planted me here. And as I work and raise my two children, I boldly seek other opportunities to serve Him and help grow His kingdom.
Two years ago, I had the privilege of being introduced to a church ministry in Faisalabad, Pakistan. From the comforts of my own home, I have been able to help strengthen the persecuted body of Christ. Hebrews 13:3 says, “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them- those who are mistreated- since you yourselves are in the body also.” Believers in Pakistan face great opposition every day; in the two years that I have been praying for this region, I have learned about Christian neighborhoods being torched and destroyed, churches losing hundreds of members due to their courtyards being bombed as church was letting out, and a Christian couple being burned to death in a public square because they were hated by their Muslim employer. Despite the turmoil that these dear believers face, they have a Savior who can empathize. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” John 15:18.
Thankfully, the Spirit is alive and active in this region of the world and it excites me to know that I can partake in their joy and their sufferings. I pray for this ministry regularly, and I have helped raise funds with which they have purchased Bibles in their native language, repaired the roof of one of their buildings, and supplied blankets and sweatshirts for needy children at Christmas time. I have not yet had the privilege of meeting these dear brothers and sisters in Christ, but I am thankful that God has blessed my life by placing them in it and I look forward to future opportunities in which He will use and guide my gifts and my willingness to serve Him in this way.
I want to encourage each of you prayerfully seek ways that God can use you on His front lines right from your front porch. Matthew 9:37 reminds us that “the harvest truly is plentiful but the laborers are few.” Do not fall prey to complicating the beautiful simplicity of the Gospel. Be the hands and feet of Jesus right in your home, right in your neighborhood, right in your workplace, and yes, even right in your church. Take Hebrews 12:12-13 to heart and “strengthen the hands which hang down and the feeble knees and make straight paths for your feet so that what is lame may be healed.”
– Shellee Mezgel