Although Christians use these words all the time, if we were forced to provide a careful definition for them, we would find, I think, quite a diversity of opinion. For some people “missions” means nothing but evangelism, while some ecumenical organizations would rather have mission include every good thing the church might do except seeking the conversion of the lost. Is creation care mission work? What about teaching people to read and write? Or agricultural development? Or medical care? Or digging wells? Or orphan work? What if people do these things in Jesus’ name? What if these activities are part of a broader work or serve as the means to a larger end? Coming to an understanding of what constitutes “missionary” work is not as easy as it sounds.
Even though we might try to deny it, believers are just as susceptible to spiritual blindness as unbelievers. So when Elisha’s servant saw the size of the army arrayed around him, he panics. He was blind to the presence of the God who was fighting for him and the size of the army that he fought with.
Kindle deals for Christian readers
Crossway’s just put a few titles by Kevin DeYoung on sale:
- The Hole in Our Holiness—99¢
- What Is the Mission of the Church?—$2.99
- Don’t Call It a Comeback—$1.99
- The Holy Spirit—99¢
Also on sale are:
- Scripture Alone by James White—$3.99
- What Is Reformed Theology? by R.C. Sproul—$3.99
- In My Father’s House by Mary Kassian—$2.99
And don’t forget, the following books from Cruciform Press are on sale for 99¢ each until September 4th:
- The Organized Heart by Staci Eastin
- But God… by Casey Lute
- Modest by R W Glenn and Tim Challies
- Intentional Parenting by Tad Thompson
- Awaiting a Savior by Aaron Armstrong
- Getting Back in the Race by Joel Beeke
- Torn to Heal by Mike Leake
- Reclaiming Adoption by Dan Cruver
- Licensed to Kill by Brian Hedges
- Friends and Lovers by Joel Beeke
Anyone who has been in ministry knows it is hard work. In 2 Timothy 4:6, Paul borrows imagery found in Numbers 28, in which the people of Israel are instructed to pour out a drink offering to the Lord.
Every morning and evening, a lamb was slaughtered at the temple as a sacrifice to God. Part of that sacrifice was a drink offering that was poured out. The idea was that it was like a meal to God, and the aroma would be pleasing to him.
That’s what Paul is alluding to as he writes to Timothy: when you pour yourself out in ministry, it’s pleasing to God. It is not merely a 9–5 job where you can simply check in and check out. Ministry is an exhausting work.
How would you like it if a Russian, or an Arab, or even a Scot walked into your house, picked up your diary and photo album and said, “Oh, this is all about me! Look at me in that picture. And this diary entry was such a big lesson for me.”
You’d probably grab your diary and photos back, kick him out of the door, and rebuke him for his cheeky self-centeredness. “How dare he think these things are all about him!”
So why do we do that with the Bible, especially with the Old Testament. We pick up this old collection of “pictures” and stories and the first question we ask is, “What’s in this for me?” or “What does this say to me?” How dare we!