They realized that God had sent me with the good news for Gentiles, and that he had sent Peter with the same message for Jews. God, who had sent Peter on a mission to the Jews, was now using me to preach to the Gentiles. Galatians 2:7-8 (CEV)
I read an article in Good Housekeeping the other day about the most inspiring women of 2016. These women ran the gamet in age, lifestyle, income and occupation. From celebrity activists to stay at home moms; creating beauty products and giving micro loans to women in developing countries, each woman in the article is contributing something meaningful to the world and making a big impact.
When I read inspiring stories about women making a difference in a big way, I can’t help but think, “Man…I am so lazy!”
There’s a part of me that feels like I should be making more of a difference. I should be establishing start-up corporations in developing nations, working with farmers to grow fresh produce in the heart of concrete jungles, starting an institute to study the effects of immigration laws on the children of illegal immigrants.
The problem is, I have no business sense, do not live in an urban area or have agricultural experience and have no money to start an institute.
It’s easy to compare ourselves to those who are shooting for the stars. We see their success and think we should be doing the same. Galatians 2 is a good reminder to me that we are not all called to the same mission field (Thank goodness! Can you imagine how crowded that would be?). For most of us, our mission opportunities occur within the confines of our own communities. Many of Jesus’ disciples stayed within the surrounding areas of Jerusalem as they worked to share the knowledge of Christ. Paul, in his letters, writes of individuals in communities like Philippi and Colossus who heard the gospel message and then brought it back to their hometowns.
No one likely thought Epaphras was a person of great note, but it is because of him that we have Paul’s letter to the Colossians. (See Colossians 1)
Paul was aware of the fact that his mission field was decidedly different than those of the other apostles. God called Paul to preach to the Gentiles. Peter, James and John had no interest in that work, as they felt led to preach to the Jews. God called and equipped each of these men to a specific field of work. And, God continues to call and equip each of us to different fields of work.
God does indeed call some of us to work that includes significant investment capital, political savvy and personal influence. You’re not going to build a medical clinic in rural Nicaragua without those things. However, others of us (most of us) are called to make a difference in smaller, but equally impactful, ways.
- Being a mentor to an at-risk youth
- Volunteering at a local food bank
- Preparing meals for a shelter or hospital
- Rescuing abandoned pets
- Helping to build a Habitat for Humanity house
- Participating in Operation Shoebox
- Collecting school supplies/clothes/toys/shoes for local or international organizations
- Delivering Meals on Wheels
- Opening your home to foster children
The list goes on and on. The key is to identify what your mission field is and then to get working! Over the past few years, I’ve found the following steps to be helpful in identifying where I need to be working.
- Assess the needs of your community.
- Make a list of all the things you enjoy doing.
- Find the point where the needs and your talents intersect.
Finally, look for organizations that are already working in the field you feel called to. For example, I am passionate about education. The Rainbow Network is an organization that provides educational opportunity for youth in Nicaragua. Supporting that organization is a way for me to engage in a field I feel called to serve.
Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Maybe you’ve been hesitant about answering the call to missions because you feel like your work can’t compare to others who are doing big and bold things. The truth is, God needs us all to be an active part of his work. You don’t need to go big or go home. You just need to go.
Blessings and Peace,