I have always liked the quote: “God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.”
I am here in Mwanza, Tanzania, reflecting on a topic of conversation that I had at dinner with some fellow missionaries. They brought up the point that in many Christian communities, missionaries are viewed as being special.
(Note: I know terminology is once again changing and we are now correctly saying that every Christian is called to be a missionary, taking the Gospel into whatever area of society they are called to, but for the purpose of this post please view it in its original light as those leaving their country to do the work of Christ abroad.)
The call to be a missionary is a unique one, but it makes us no more special than anyone else. Also, just like everyone else, it is God who equips us to serve in this way. It is God who gives us the strength to leave family and friends behind, sometimes for years at a time. It is God who blesses us with the opportunity to enter into new cultures, see different parts of the world, minister abroad, and see how He is worshipped in different cultures. It is also God who grants us grace when we struggle with new ways, new foods, new environments and new customs.
Perhaps I shouldn’t say: “Don’t call me special”, but rather: “Start seeing yourself and your call as unique and special, too.” We have each been called to serve God in a unique way and He will equip you to do His work, wherever you are. Each call has its challenging moments, but it also has its heights. He is to be our source and strength wherever it is that we minister. Do you view your call as special?
I am also no closer to God because of my call. We become close to God by earnest pursuit of Him, regardless of our roles. First and foremost, we must hold to our identities as children of God. We receive our value because we are made in His image and we are blessed because we are the redeemed. We must pursue Him with insatiable hunger and devotion. We must worship Him. We must seek the truth in His Word and live out His ways.
We are all special and unique, as image bearers of God, and we are blessed to be children of God. Today, look in a mirror and declare:
“It was you who formed my internal organs, fashioning me within my mother’s womb. I praise you, because you are fearful and wondrous! Your work is wonderful, and I am fully aware of it.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
See to it that you also look into yourself and see whether you are faithfully pursuing Him in your actions and whether you are living out His ways; as James wrote:
Keep on being obedient to the word, and not merely being hearers who deceive themselves. For if anyone hears the word but is not obedient to it, he is like a man who looks at himself in a mirror and studies himself carefully, and then goes off and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the one who looks at the perfect law of freedom and remains committed to it—thereby demonstrating that he is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of what that law requires—will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25)
Your call is unique and you are special. Live out His purpose for your life and eagerly pursue Him in all you do. Trust that He is even now equipping you as you step out in His service.