About four years ago, I was beginning my first year of missionary work with NET Ministries. I wrote the reflection below in adoration one evening during training. The scripture from 1 Corinthians 4:10 jumped off the page at me: “We are the Messiah’s misfits.” This reflection paralleled my mission as a missionary pretty clearly. But as I finish up my four years of “official” mission work in a few weeks, I am more convinced than ever that it simply reflects our call as Christians
 
The mission never really finishes once it’s no longer your job. 
 

“You are poor, helpless, and broken. So disheveled. As you sit on the side of a road, a man approaches you and motions for you to follow him. You doubt, you point at your measly self, questioning him, asking, “Wait, me?” A gentle smile crosses his face as he stretches out and offers you his hand. His hand bears a scar from a previous injury. You stare at his hand for a moment. Still questioning and hesitating, you reach up and grab it. He continues on down the street and you follow from behind.

You then notice this group of others, a lot like yourself, disheveled – their clothes are filthy. A crowd of orphans. You make eye contact with them. Your confused glance is met by many. They welcome you in as you follow him. This man makes his way towards a house. A humble home, but it looms over you all as a mansion. As you file in, you get a good look at the crowd of orphans for the first time. This sense of hesitation and doubt is written on everyone’s faces as the room is filled with the others. Many are still questioning their own decision to say yes, unsure of what exactly it is he will be doing with us. In that moment your stomach grumbles. You’re reminded again of the pain of not having eaten in quite some time. You look down at your frail body and you’re reminded of the countless years of never having enough nourishment.

As if on cue, your nostrils pick up something sweet. Bread. You look up at everyone else’s faces and see that you aren’t the only one that notices. The smell is overwhelming now. Chatter begins to arise in the room. In that moment the Master enters. A silence falls over us. He beckons us into the adjoining room where the scent becomes tangible. Enough bread to feed the masses. As you hurriedly consume your bread, you notice the Master standing off in the corner, smiling that gentle smile and taking in the scene: a crowd of impoverished orphans getting their fill for the first time. And the Master keeps you there for some time, until your bodies are nourished. All the while still wondering how exactly you will be serving him. All you had done thus far was have your fill. But all of you, still in your rags, were somehow different. Your cold eyes now glimmered hope; your frail bodies, now full of life.

Not long after that, the day finally arrives. The Master’s mission for you is simple: go out to the streets and bring back as many people as possible to be nourished. You are all preparing to leave, and there is a twinge of hesitation that fills the room – unsure if this is really going to work. “Why would they listen to me?” you think. The anticipation is building. Your stomach drops as some of the others go on their way. In that moment, you are reminded of the the frail body that once was you walking through those doors, just some time ago. You realize just how far you’ve come. Yes, the people on the street will see your rags, but they will see more than that. They will see a strong, nourished body under the rags, and they will be drawn to that.

With a bit more confidence you approach the front door. You look up and the Master catches your gaze. That last twinge of insecurity surfaces, “Master, are you sure you want me?” He crouches down to your level and takes your hand, just like he did that first day. That familiar, gentle smile crosses his face. He looks at you and asks, “Do you love me?” A wave of emotions overcome you, shocked that he would even question that. After all he had done for you, an immense love for him had grown. You fight back tears as you muster up a response: “Master, of course I love you.” He looks intently into your eyes and says, “Then feed my sheep.”

Simply put: Christianity is one beggar telling another where they have found bread.”

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