Many of us grew up in churches that collected "Lottie Moon" offerings or that took up collections in the name of another foreign missionary. Some of us may
have heard a missionary who was home on leave speak during worship and then fantasized about going to the field and serving Jesus in a remote corner of the world. Somehow, that seems easier than telling our neighbor or co-worker about God's love.
Our own people cry out for us to bring them the light of God's mercy and grace. They are dying for a word of hope and a touch of compassion. What they need is a missionary. You are the one God is calling to take the good news to them.
From out of a small Sunday school class in Scotland went a young man named David Livingston. He went to Africa, traveling from village to village treating the sick and telling them about God's love. Many years later, a missionary visiting one of those villages began to tell a story about a gentle compassionate man named Jesus. An old woman interrupted him and said, "Many years ago that man visited our village, but we called him David."
From a Sunday school in Scotland, you get the footprints of Jesus in the sands of Africa. Are the footprints of Jesus to be seen where you live and work?
How would your life be different if you saw yourself as a missionary of God's compassion and grace? We are not the kind of missionaries who claim to have all the answers and demand that people change their mind and see it our way. Our only job is to offer a word of hope, the hope we have found; a touch of grace, the grace that is beginning to change our lives; a sign of compassion, the compassion offered to us when we least deserved it.
The point many of our former churches missed is that Christians don't have all the answers; we have not arrived. The only difference between us and those who don't know Jesus is that we have found a source of bread and are willing to share it.
A funny thing happened on our way to gaining success, prosperity, and power: God interrupted us and gave us a new mission. A funny thing happened on the way to certainty and arrogance: God interrupted us with mercy and grace.
Christians are people whose lives have been interrupted by God and who have been sent on a mission. You are a missionary of God right now. Perhaps we need to take up an offering in your name.