In the check-out line in the market.
At the 4-way stop in the neighborhood.
During the game at our children’s sports league.
On the job site with the co-workers.
What happens at these places? That depends! These are the places where we become missionaries where we live, work and play. However, they are also the places where we forfeit our right to share a genuine gospel.
Matthew 5:16 – let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
On my good days, I wake up excited to be a missionary. I’m not talking about being a church planter (although that’s what I am). I’m talking about a biblical missionary responding to the call to every follower of Jesus to make disciples and to love as Jesus loved and to let our light shine before others. On those days, I’m prepared before I get to the long line at the market and on my game even when the traffic is painfully disruptive to my preferred pace. I’m proactively looking for ways to be a blessing to the parents and kids and coaches at the game and even ready to be a positive gospel influence with those whom I encounter in my work (I get to do two part-time endeavors along with my church planting fun). Those are the days that I act like a missionary.
But it’s the other days that cause me to often be perceived as someone who is doing too much ‘acting’.
The days I don’t wake up preparing for or excited about my opportunities to be a gospel witness. The days my light is dampened by excessive snow or an over-eager schedule that is being negatively impacted by slow traffic or slow shoppers. On these days, my light isn’t shining well, and my works can be seen as anything but good. I’m not acting like a missionary for Jesus on those days or in those moments. I’m struggling with the reality that I’m being a missionary for something else…
You see, we are all evangelists for something. We all respond to the missionary call of something or someone. We either share from a deep well of love for God that overcomes the world, or we share from an emotion or perception that is elevated above that deep well (yes, that’s an idol).
It is easy to have a bad day on the mission field and beat yourself up for a week. But that’s not productive. Instead, let’s recognize our opportunity. I bet you have to go back to the market, the neighborhood, the game, the job, etc. Let’s put down the ‘act’ and just be the hope-filled, grace-giving missionary people of the God who led by example in this matter. Who knows, maybe someone will notice the change from the bad day to the good day and think we must have had a life-changing encounter with God that they will want to know more about!