Know Your Neighbor • Missions Monday
By Jenna Weaver
Have you ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed by the seemingly vastness of missions work? Ever thought “There’s no way I could do that!” or “That’s definitely not for me”? Perhaps you’ve considered missions before, but had some apprehension about who and where to serve. Maybe you’re reading this now and wondering "What even is 'missions'?"
To define missions, we first need to begin with the Gospel. The Gospel literally translates to the “Good News” of Jesus Christ. As part of the Great Commission, found in Matthew 28:18, we are encouraged to go and make disciples of all nations. Through the authority found in Jesus, we are sent, guided, and empowered. It’s important to note that making disciples doesn’t solely happen through conversion, but rather through a process involving fellow believers and the power of spreading Christianity. Truly, there is no place on this earth where the Good News of Jesus Christ shouldn’t be shared and where disciples shouldn’t be built up!
So, what makes someone qualified to be a missionary? The Word tells us it’s not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own, but rather our qualification comes from God.
Prior to my trip to South Africa in 2018, I remember feeling so unqualified, unworthy, and like I was nowhere near equipped to share the Gospel. I felt like the sins of my life and the things that had happened throughout my life were far too overbearing to measure up.
I was defining myself by my past and allowing specific events in my life to determine my self-worth and who I was in Christ. I wasn’t viewing myself through the eyes of God, but through my own— I was letting the world have a strong grip on me.
So much of God’s truth was poured into me during my time in Africa. The entire way I viewed myself was completely altered. I had always felt my past was ugly and I never wanted to shed any amount of light on it. So many moments of my life were filled with darkness and felt incredibly defining for many, many years. I had buried pain, trauma, abuse, and brokenness. I felt like I was being suffocated by a blanket of shame and guilt. Deep down I knew who I was in Christ, but I wasn’t living it out like I believed it.
While I had already been working on changing my perception of myself for a few years, Africa served as a huge breakthrough for me. I experienced the truth of God using each and every aspect of our lives for good—Him making beauty from ashes.
While in Africa, I got to witness first hand such a powerful amount of God’s mercy and goodness. I fully believe we’re immersed in God’s goodness here in the States too, but it’s remarkable how we, as Americans, can so easily get distracted and caught up by earthly things.
One thing I absolutely love about being a missionary is when He sends you out into His Kingdom, whether it’s near or far, all you have is Him. It’s a leap of faith and requires a total reliance on God, but results in a spiritually empowering growth.
There was a particular morning on the trip where I was feeling very under-qualified as we were heading to the community for a full day of house-to-house evangelism. I wrestled with the belief of not being skilled enough, not knowing enough, not equipped enough, and not being worthy enough to go out and preach the Gospel. Once we got into the community, I was drawn to a house that had a young woman standing outside.
When I began talking with her, I found out she was the same age as I was. She had walls built up due to the unfortunate things she was forced to believe in and the more we talked I could sense her skepticism towards what I was sharing with her about Christ. As we got to know each other better, those walls began to break down between us and trust was built in their place. I could feel her yearning to know the same God I believed in. While I was sharing part of my testimony with her, she shared her fears and worries, but then she said something to me that truly impacted my life and ultimately changed hers forever.
She said, “I don’t want to live another moment of my life without Him.” I was then able to lead her in a prayer of salvation and pray over her. I can still vividly see the joy of salvation and redemption that was unveiled upon her surrender. It was also in that very moment where I no longer believed the lies of incapability and lack of worth in my own life.
My mind was transformed to believe God has a plan for my life— a plan of restoration and of fruitful harvest— that through Him I am capable and qualified to accomplish everything he calls me to. It was a moment of overcoming unbelief that had been starving our souls.
Africa completely changed my life. New hope was found, my faith was restored, and I gained appreciation for the life I so often wished away. I truly believe God used that trip to serve as the foundation of healing in my life. He showed me that the soil, which is representative of my life, is valuable and necessary to produce the crops of His Kingdom. Though my soil may have been eroded and viewed to have little value, fertilization could still take place. The soil just had to be willing to receive the fertilization—my soil had to be willing to receive God’s fertilization.
I hope and pray this encourages you to get to know your neighbor. Being a missionary doesn’t require you to pack a suitcase or cross a border. Sometimes the calling God places on our lives is to be fulfilled within our own home, workplace, school, or small group. His word tells us in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, found in Luke 10, we are to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.”
As the Parable continues on, we find that Jesus doesn’t ask the expert of the law to identify who in the Parable is his neighbor, but rather he asks him to identify who is “a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers.” The question Jesus concludes with forces the expert of the law to examine the nature of being neighborly. Jesus communicates we’re not to determine who is included as a neighbor to be loved, but we should truly act as a neighbor through loving. When the expert of the law wanted to know who deserves his love, Jesus replied by showing how genuine love will seek out neighbors to receive compassion and care, even in the most unimaginable places.
I want to challenge you to think of who that neighbor was for you in your own life. Who can you be that neighbor to in your daily walk with Christ? We’re not all called to cross oceans, but we are all called to go and make disciples of all nations. The idea of missions isn’t strictly for missionaries, but rather God’s call for all believers. Are you willing to be “the one who showed him mercy”?
Jenna Weaver has been a part of our Grace Chapel and Building Blocks Child Center family for 11 years and is the talent behind the slides during weekend services. If she isn't on stage singing on the Worship Team or playing piano, she is running slides in the sound booth (while keeping our Worship Leader, Jai, in line!).