We have all likely heard the proverb (not one of the Bible Proverbs) that states:
“Give someone a fish, and they are fed for a day… Teach someone to fish, and they’ll never need to be fed again.”
As we think of Missions work, we all too often, in today’s churches, think in “either-or” thoughts, and very seldom in “both-and” thoughts. I feel that our mission is informed both by the Great Commandment and the Great Commission:
Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV)
37Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
All too easily we overlook what Jesus stated was HIS Mission:
Luke 19:10 (NKJV)
10for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
It seems to me that folks doing missions work across the spectrum of evangelical churches in North America, are often focused passionately either on supplying this worlds needs (cup of cold water, etc.) or they’re passionately focused on eternity. Each at the exclusion of the other. This ought not to be.
Many who work to relieve poverty, etc. will say that they need to feed (or clothe, or house) people before they share the Gospel with them. Trouble is, they often DON’T share the Gospel.
Conversely many who are zealous and effective in sharing the message of Salvation as revealed in the New Testament, seem to express little if any concern about the physical condition of the folks they’re reaching out to.
I strongly feel that we are called to reach out in both ways. About 30 years ago, Paul Mundey, who is now pastoring the Frederick Church of the Brethren, authored a book entitled Reaching Out in Word and Deed. That sort of captures what I’m sharing this month. The Word of the Gospel of Sal- vation and the Deed of improving the living conditions of folks seems to me to be two vital aspects of “seeking and saving that which was lost.”
I am pleased that virtually all of the Mission work by churches and groups in West Marva District are “BOTH AND” and not “EITHER OR” mission workers.
We need to reach out by giving a fish and by teaching to fish, or stated Biblically, loving our neighbors and making disciples.
Some might say, they’re unable to go and “do” missions work. That’s just not true! Some go, some send, some support with materials, all should pray. There is something for everyone to do!
WHAT’S YOUR MISSIONS PASSION?
Let’s get to doing it!