During the summer and autumn months, the lectionary scriptures concentrate a lot on missions. In the Gospel text for this Sunday, “Jesus said to His disciples, … Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received.’” To this end, the church engages in mission’s work. Often it involves traveling to some distant place trying to convert someone to our Christian beliefs and/or providing and meeting a critical need for others that they can’t provide for themselves.
I personally think that providing a critical need is a much more effective evangelism and mission tool of our faith in Christ than proselytizing. If we make it our goal to love people by providing for their critical needs, we might find them more receptive to our Christian message of living life in relationship with Christ.
As I write this, today is Thursday, June 15, 2017. Seven weeks ago, today, I had an appointment with a 24-year old young man named Matt, in my church office. He wanted to talk with me about some difficult challenges affecting him relationally and emotionally. After spending time doing some problem-solving around these issues, I said him, “You know that none of this will work without God’s help.” He said, “Yeah, preacher, I know.” So, I asked him, “Would you like God’s help? It’s a simple matter of saying yes to walking in relationship with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.” With tears streaming down his face, he said, “Yes.” So, we held hands and prayed for that to happen. You see, my efforts to help this young man with some difficult challenges he faced, made him receptive to the Gospel message that I as a Christian Pastor am called to proclaim. It was one of my “Godly Opportunities for Missions.”
This example of missions is heavy on my mind because, yesterday, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, I officiated and gave the Eulogy at that young man’s, “Celebration of Life” Service, following his death in a tragic car accident.
Join us at Covenant this Father’s Day for worship. I will be preaching on “Godly Opportunities for Missions” based on Matthew 9:35 – 10:8.