The Church is missionary by its very nature. The Church exists to reveal Christ, to bring people into life with and in Christ. The Church exists to bear witness to Christ as the Savior of the world. That is the mission of the Church. The Church doesn’t exist for any other reason. The Lord established the Church to bring the Good News of Salvation to the world.
What is true of the whole Church is true of each member of the Church. As a member of the Church, we are missionary in our nature as Christians. The Church and each member of the Church is to reveal Christ and His saving life. That is done in many different ways. The major way it’s done is by living it. Someone may see something of Christ’s life and teachings in your life that leads them to the Lord.
By your words and deeds that are according to Gospel teachings toward those you live with, and are in contact with, you are a missionary for Christ. Some are not conscious of being missionaries for Christ. Anyone living in Christ and with Christ and following Christ by the Holy Spirit is by that very fact a missionary of Christ. They may be private missionaries, as compared with public missionaries who publicly preach and teach to reveal Christ’s saving life.
The whole body of Christ is missionary. Each member, just as each cell in our human body, serves the good, the mission and the work of the whole body. Many millions of cells serve our physical body, which are never seen. Yet the body could not live and achieve its work without them. The same is true for the Body of Christ, the Church. There are many millions of members whose work for the whole Church body is hidden. Without the hidden missionary work for Christ, the whole Church could not carry out its mission work for Christ.
Just as the more visible members of a human body depend on the unseen cells and members, so the more public proclaimers depend on the more hidden members’ work.
The Lord needs hundreds of millions of missionaries in all parts of the world to reveal Him and His kingdom and gifts of salvation. The Lord has chosen to need you and me in the mission of revealing His saving life. It’s a wonderful privilege and gift and call, as well as a responsibility and a challenge. The gift of faith and the gift of the Church are wonderful gifts we should want everyone to have.
The Lord can use people in His missionary work even unknown to them. We have an example of that in Isaiah. Cyrus was a pagan king who the Lord anointed and gave him victories to provide for the return of the Israelites to Jerusalem.
St. Paul was one of the greatest missionaries of the early Church. His missionary work extends across the centuries. Any private or public missionary who brings someone else to Christ spreads their influence over the centuries. We all received the faith and the revelation of Christ from people of previous generations. The people of generations to follow will know and live Christ’s saving life by the way we do. One disciple of Jesus may spend their whole life praying and working for the conversion of one person. That one person may influence others or have children, and over the centuries the work of that one disciple, such as yourself, has participated in bringing many hundreds and even thousands of people to know the Lord.
Paul said he was constantly mindful of the way the Thessalonians proved their faith by laboring in love and showing constant hope in Christ. Paul reminded them his preaching of the gospel was one of power among them, which he carried out in the Holy Spirit and with complete conviction.
In our missionary work for Christ, on whatever level, we need to realize how important it is for people today and for future generations. The more we realize how much our faith in Christ means, the more we will want to do missionary work for Christ, and support other missionaries.
Jesus teaches us “to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but give to God what is God’s”. Taking part in the mission and missionary work of the Church is one of the ways we thank the Lord for the gift of faith, and make some small return to the Lord. Our daily living and witnessing to Christ is an encouragement and hope for ourselves and others!
Be the Lord’s missionary!!