Wednesday 11 February 2015

Wednesday of the 4th Week of Easter

What does it mean to be a missionary? Some people think that being a missionary means they must go to some remote place where people are primitive and appear to be savages or are followers of some animistic belief, and attempt to bring the good news to them. Sometimes, these people take it upon themselves to go to such places, without being sent or commissioned by a higher authority. But that is not what being a missionary is all about. Being a missionary means one is sent by a church into an area to carry out evangelism or other activities, such as educational or hospital work. The person does not choose where he or she is to be sent, but the church decides (hopefully with promptings from the Holy Spirit). Moreover, being a missionary does not mean only remote areas or areas where people seem primitive are favourable, for one could also be sent to developed areas where people are in need of God just as much as those elsewhere.

In today's reading, we are told: "One day while they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit said, ‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.’ So it was that after fasting and prayer they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So these two, sent on their mission by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus. They landed at Salamis and proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; John acted as their assistant." From here, we can clearly see that it is the Holy Spirit who sent Barnabas and Saul on a mission. These two did not take it upon themselves to go on mission, but were merely servants and followed what the Holy Spirit commanded them.

Thus, if you think you are being called to be a missionary, be mindful of whether you become one because you have been called by a church and sent to a particular place; or you are trying to become one according to your own interest, own agenda and own purposes. Being a missionary means to be at the service of God according to where the church sees a need, for the ultimate reason is to glorify God, and not for one's personal gratification or glory.

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