Thursday, April 12, 2012

So You Want to Be a Missionary?

Being a missionary has lots of benefits and blessings. Having said that, mission work, and ministry in general, is not for the faint of heart. Most of us will never suffer like the apostle Paul, but if being a missionary was an easy "job" we wouldn't see such a big turnover. Many people set out to become a foreign missionary, and if you survive the arduous task of raising the financial support you will need to sustain your family on the field, once you have arrived on the field it will take the grace of God to stay there.

Look at the legacy the apostle Paul left us in 2 Corinthians 11:23--28. Whenever I am tempted to feel discouraged (which can be more frequent than I would like), I am comforted by the fact that there is a purpose in our suffering. Paul was beaten, to the point of death....often. He was put in prison, stoned, suffered shipwreck, in perils during his frequent travels suffering robbers, troubles from his own countrymen, false brethren, heathen, in hunger, weariness, painfulness, cold, naked, and fasting often--all while caring for the churches he started. He admitted his own weakness, and knew it was the power of Christ that sustained him.

When Paul besought the Lord three times that he would take away a "thorn" in the flesh--an infirmity, the messenger of Satan used to keep Paul humble and dependent upon God, the Lord responded...."My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh in us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;" 2 Corinthians 4: 16-17

Of course this applies to every believer with a desire to live for God's glory, not just the "full-time" missionary. We all have afflictions, trials, and temptations which will require the grace and power of God upon our lives. But if you are considering missions, you can be assured that your faith will be tested in ways that will go beyond your "comfort" zone."

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