THE CHRISTMAS MODEL FOR MISSIONS - John Piper
“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” —John 17:18
Christmas is a model for missions. Missions is a mirror of Christmas. As I, so you. For example, danger. Christ came to his own and his own received him not. So you. They plotted against him. So you. He had no permanent home. So you. They trumped up false charges against him. So you. They whipped and mocked him. So you. He died after three years of ministry. So you. But there is a worse danger than any of these which Jesus escaped. So you! In the mid-16th century Francis Xavier (1506–1552), a Catholic missionary, wrote to Father Perez of Malacca today part of Indonesia) about the perils of his mission to China. He said, The danger of all dangers would be to lose trust and confidence in the mercy of God… To distrust him would be a far more terrible thing than any physical evil which all the enemies of God put together could inflict on us, for without God’s permission neither the devils nor their human ministers could hinder us in the slightest degree. The greatest danger a missionary faces is to distrust the mercy of God. If that danger is avoided, then all other dangers lose their sting. God makes every dagger a scepter in our hand. As J.W. Alexander says, “Each instant of present labor is to be graciously repaid with a million ages of glory.” Christ escaped the danger of distrust. Therefore God has highly exalted him! Remember this Advent that Christmas is a model for missions. As I, so you. And that mission means danger. And that the greatest danger is distrusting God’s mercy. Succumb to this, and all is lost. Conquer here, and nothing can harm you for a million ages.
My mom used to tell me that if you’d had a tough week, the kind of week that made you want to quit, you had experienced a “character building” week. The idea was that when facing adversity, your strength of character would help you through.
I’ve had a character building week.
I work for a handyman company and we sell our repair and remodel services to folks in my area. I generally love what I do, meeting new people every day and helping them to get things fixed and finished. During my work week my “mission” is to find out what people need and then help them to take care of those needs. I’m passionate about making our clients happy!
But every once in a while I’ll have a string of customers who I just can’t seem to help. Either they don’t like our prices, or they want a job done that we can’t do, or they just aren’t satisfied with the finished product. When that happens I find myself quick to forget the many happy clients I’ve taken care of in the past and I begin to wonder if I’m doing a good job and if I should be selling this service.
The interesting thing is, as human beings it really doesn’t take much for us to feel disheartened and discouraged. Somehow it’s always easier to focus on the negative and forget all the good and positive things. Satan loves this! Discouragement is one of his favorite weapons. As believers it’s so very important that we understand the inevitability of those discouraging moments, and that we’re ready to do battle with Satan when he threatens our mission to be good children of deep faith. Lift your spiritual light high and hold it tight! Know with all your heart that you’re a son or daughter of the Kingdom, and that no matter how difficult your days, your Father is proud of you and He’s planning an amazing homecoming in heaven just for you.