I recently attended a mission conference where I met people from Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Some of these missionaries were North Americans called to fields of service in other countries, and some were homegrown missionaries serving among their own people. As I heard each of them tell their stories, I thought to myself, “They are all incredible, true GIANTS!” These missionaries were tall, well-built, brilliant, and beautiful in every way. They were magnetic, outgoing, quick-witted, and fluent in at least nine languages.
In reality, though some of these missionaries were a few of those things in varying degrees, they all seemed to be "real people." Some were a little goofy, while others were more reserved. Some were not very gregarious or even skilled communicators. They almost seemed like... people... not exceptionally gifted people, just people.
Missionaries are people,
just like you and me.
Don’t Get Me Wrong
For the record, I have the utmost respect and admiration for all servants of God. They are precious and wonderful, my heroes, but I have learned and continue to learn about missionaries. I have been around them for the last 18 years and know some in a personal way, even as friends. I have eaten their food, slept on the ground with them, laughed, prayed, and seen them in ministry and in life. I have even known some missionaries before they were missionaries, back when they were just "real people."
The COMMON DENOMINATOR
I am learning more and more that missionaries aren’t ten feet tall and bullet-proof. They aren’t necessarily brave or brilliant, exceptionally gifted or theologically profound.
The only common denominator
I see is a willingness to go.
They are willing to go to Africa, Europe, or simply to the other side of town. They are willing to go to the homeless, prisons, or to the children. God uses them around the corner and around the world, even the ones that are a little goofy, and He does so not because of their exceptional giftedness or super spirituality, but because each of them is willing to be used by God. The Bible says, “It is not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord” (Zech. 4:6).