Have you ever asked yourself these type of questions:
Am I ready?
Am I spiritually mature enough?
Do I know the Bible well enough?
What if I won’t know what to say?
Will God really use me?
So often, we can start from a place of shame, fear, or doubt when it comes to assessing if we are ready to be used by God. We often doubt that Jesus could ever use a broken sinner like you or me to do his wonderful and incredible work.
This reminds me of Tara (who is now my wife!) who became a follower of Jesus in her third year at Carleton University in October 2003, through our friend Loni.
Tara didn’t grow up knowing Jesus. She had never heard the gospel until attending a Summit fall retreat, and when Loni walked through the Knowing God Personally booklet with her. When Tara heard the gospel for the first time, she was amazed and astounded by the simplicity of the message and the profound love of God.
She was so changed by this life-transforming message that six months after she began her relationship with Jesus, she was getting ready to board a plane for a mission trip.
But as we were sitting on the tarmac, getting ready to take off, I remember her leaning towards me and questioning: “What am I doing here? I’m not ready! I just became a Christian! I think this was a bad decision. I don’t know enough to be going on this trip!”
You’re probably reading this because you can relate, and maybe you’re asking those very same questions or having those very same thoughts.
As you read this, you may feel like you’re not good enough. You might feel like you aren’t trained or equipped enough. You may feel like you wouldn’t know what to say, or how to say it. You might feel like you could never do the things that those amazing missionaries do.
And quite honestly, you might be right.
But the good news is, you don’t have to be good enough, or know enough, or be enough. The good news is that God is good enough, that he is able, and that he can do all the things that we can’t do.
Just think for a moment about the very first people that Jesus chose to be his ambassadors. Over two thousand years ago, a ragtag group of Jesus-loving followers changed the world. Those young men and women, who were probably around the same age as many of you, were not exceptional people.
What words would you use to describe those first followers?
Faithful? Obedient? Passionate?
How about rebellious? Proud? Bombastic? Clumsy? Clueless?
The first disciples were far from perfect. They were former Pharisees, tax collectors, and people of low social standing. They were uneducated, reformed religious hypocrites, considered traitors to their nation.
Oftentimes they fought and had disagreements. They frequently said the wrong things, they bickered amongst themselves, they were proud, they pushed little kids away from Jesus, and they were impulsive. James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy a village that didn’t welcome them with open arms. Martha was probably a workaholic. Jesus called Peter Satan.
Do you think the first followers had it all together?
No! Far from it! And yet, Jesus still chose them and loved them deeply.
Despite all of their flaws and differences, those first disciples had one thing in common: they loved Jesus.
I’m willing to bet that there are some of you out there who can resonate with that. You love Jesus. You want to follow Jesus. You want to be a part of what Jesus is doing. And in all your brokenness and messiness, you want to be where Jesus is and you want to be used by him to do wonderful things.
The beauty of the gospel is that Jesus invites you to be with him—in all your brokenness and messiness and your not-put-together-ness.
Thousands of years ago, Jesus extended an invitation to those first followers, and it was an invitation that they couldn’t refuse.
They accepted Jesus’ invitation to “Come and be fishers of people.” They accepted Jesus’ invitation to “Come and declare the “Kingdom of Heaven is here!’”
To come and restore and redeem a broken world.
To come and heal the broken-hearted and free the oppressed.
To come and “join me in my Father’s business.”
The invitation of Jesus to these first followers was to “Come to me”. It was when these men accepted the invitation that Jesus transformed them into fishers of people. Jesus’ invitation to you today remains the same.
He is not saying, “Come when you have it all together.”
No. He is saying, “Come. Come to me as you are, and join me in what I am doing around the world!”
He extends his hand to you and says, “Come and join me in declaring my Kingdom come, and my will be done.” He is inviting you to be a part of his kingdom movement. It is the greatest movement that the world has ever seen. It is a movement of ordinary men and women, linking arms with Jesus, standing shoulder to shoulder, and saying yes to his invitation to come and join in this great harvest!
Jesus is not telling you to “Go” where he is not present. He is not saying, “Come where I am not working.” He is saying “Come, I invite you to join me in my Father’s kingdom work.”
You may look at the world today, and feel like there is nothing you can do to make a difference. But the beauty is that Jesus is the one who is doing the work. He has invited you to be with him as he works.
Our Father is a good father. He invites us, not because he needs us, but because it is for our joy and for his pleasure!
Missions, and participating in missions, isn’t about whether you have some divine calling, or if you are gifted, or if you are trained or equipped, or spiritually mature enough, or a good-enough Christian.
Missions is all about an invitation that Jesus has extended to every believer to “come and declare the Kingdom of Heaven is here!”
Back to Tara.
She went into the mission trip full of doubt, fear, and trepidation. Six weeks later, as she stepped back onto Canadian soil, she realized that the Lord loves to be with his children, no matter where they are at in their journey.
The mission trip was life-changing for her. She saw God use her powerfully, after having just discovered Jesus seven months earlier. She had the privilege of introducing one of her friends to Jesus. She experienced community in an incredibly powerful, transformational way. She got to experience a new world and culture. And most importantly, God showed her that he is greater than any of her fears and weaknesses.
So come. I invite you. Let’s go together.
Let’s trust God to do something spectacular—not because we are exceptional people—but because he is an extraordinary king, who can do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.
Some questions to ask yourself, as you consider your mission trip readiness:
- Am I a Christian on the trajectory of growth in my journey with Jesus?
- In other words, I am currently deepening my love for God, pursuing him and experiencing change in my daily life (though at times imperfectly).
- Am I willing to share the gospel, even if I lack experience or skill?
- I want to talk to people about Jesus and would love to gain practical experience and training in doing just that.
- Am I willing to learn from others?
- I want to learn, or in other words, I know I don’t know everything and am excited to learn from staff and other students.
- Am I willing to live and serve in community with others?
- I may find living with others on mission difficult, but I know that God calls me to love, serve, sacrifice for, and forgive my brother and sisters.
- Am I willing to trust God to help me persevere through challenges and obstacles that I may face in the journey?