Not Long ago, I was asked if I would make a short clip of myself answering the following question: “What does the heart of a missionary look like?” I have to admit that I was with a friend when I read the question and we both laughed thinking wow what a loaded question. I said, after making the video, that this would most likely turn into a blog since the thought of this really provoked a stirring in my heart, my “missionary” heart. As I write this blog I can think of how I would have answered that question before I had the honor of having the title and how different it is now that I am the one overseas serving.
Before, I would have said something like “one who gives up everything to go and share the gospel to others,” or ” One who is far more gifted and has way more faith,” or even “one that is closer to God than me.” I knew many missionaries growing up and I always aspired to have “that” kind of relationship with God. Fast forward to present day and we are humbled that there are people out there that say these things of us. We hear a lot of things like “I wish I could sell everything and do what you are doing” or “your family is doing such a great thing in Africa.” While these things are true, we did sell most everything we owned to up and move to Africa and we are doing amazing things here with water and with ministry, these things did not make us missionaries. We get the honor of having that “title” but in reality our hearts are no different than yours. It is full of the same sins and as Christ followers it is also covered by the same grace as yours. You see, if you are a follower of Jesus, the goal is to obey no matter the cost. For some that cost is being a missionary to your neighborhood or in your school. For some, like us, it was the cost of selling things and moving to another country, for some, it is even death.
The missionary heart looks different only because it chooses this obedience over convenience, it chooses hard over what may seem easier. It chooses to love others as Christ loves them and to love God over everything else. It chooses life even in the face of death. It matters not where you live on this earth, it is how you choose to live for God. Are we All in and ready to obey no matter what the cost or are we just sitting pretty in the pews with our bibles and wondering why the world is the way it is? Are we reading our bibles and trying to hear from the Lord or are we deciding that the missionary stuff is only for those who feel called to “go.” The truth is that being a missionary is a command. The Lord calls us all to do something for His glory and His kingdom. Right now, He has called us to live in Africa and has called many others to live in far more dangerous places. Praise Him that He has called those people, but He also calls you to rise up where you are and heed to His calling for your life and that might just be the exact place you are standing at this moment.
Even where we are, we struggle with the same thoughts and feelings that some of you do. We struggle with some of the same sins you do. We all have sinful natures and following Christ does not take that away or make it easier. What being a true follower will do is change your heart to look more like His over time. It will change your desires to be His desires. That is what the Bible says in Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” To me that means if I delight in Him my desires turn into His desires and His will. Following Christ changes your heart, it changes your desires to be like His. The heart of a missionary longs to finish the race by falling exhausted over the finish line at Jesus’ feet hoping to hear “well done thy good and faithful servant.” That is really all we are no matter where we go, a servant to the most high God. In the end, this missionary heart strives to have 2 Timothy 4:7 engraved in it. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Being where we are says we answered when He called, our hearts have only grown by the blessings we have received since following.
Blessed to be the LawsonTribe4 in Uganda!