Many people will often associate ‘mission’ with evangelism, and while this is relevant, for me it’s not the most important. Instead, it’s just one word. Love. The two most important commandments are as follows:
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
- Love your neighbour as yourself.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.’
In my mind, love doesn’t require much. It doesn’t take much to smile at someone when you walk past them, or hold open a door. Nor is it hard to fire off a quick text to a friend/neighbour and enquire after their wellbeing. I feel like although these are very mundane, and day-to-day actions, there are still lessons to be learnt from them.
As I mentioned in my Mission Statement, Matthew 28:16-20 is the Great Commission, sending us to make disciples of all nations. This is important, and has it’s own place – in those places that have never heard the gospel, or where religious oppression is rife. Those are dangerous places, but mission fields nonetheless. Yet in my eyes, the Great Commission goes alongside ‘love’. Love is relevant whether people know God or whether they don’t. It’s often said that the universal language is love. It isn’t hard to understand hospitality, or generosity, or even just a smile. And sometimes that’s what is needed to go beyond the barriers of language or cultural divisions.
The universal language is love.
I guess when it comes down to ‘mission’, there is an expectation that the only mission field is abroad, somewhere overseas. In reality, the complete opposite is the truth. Mission is something that is not only relevant, but also needed right on our own doorsteps. And actually, it’s possible that the hardest mission field is the one we live in, and see every day. If we’ve grown up there, and are comfortable with what we see, it is then hard to be challenged, and make changes. Yet somewhere, there is always a need, and a way to help. Some examples that spring to mind are food-banks, winter night shelters or drop-ins.
My eyes were opened to the wider mission world during my trip to Tanzania in July 2016. For me, it was a real eye-opening experience in a number of ways. I don’t know about you, but if you’re sitting watching TV and an advert comes on for a water charity or something asking donations to support famine relief, it can be quite easy to switch off. Famine, illness and natural disasters have become so common-place, that while they are terrible, and not at all how God intended, but I’ve found myself tuning out. Possibly this is one of the reasons why actually seeing poverty through my own eyes was so hard-hitting. No longer was there a mute button, or the ability to turn off the TV to go and make a cup of tea. No, the dirty water, malnourished children and stark living conditions were right in front of me.
Personally, I don’t see how I could witness it, and not feel ashamed by the inequality that exists in today’s society. The lack of distribution of food and wealth despite the fact that the world produces enough for everyone is painful to witness. It struck me how these are God’s people, yet to see them suffering is hard.
Yet, despite the little they have, the generosity and hospitality we experienced is almost incomprehensible. Living in a material-driven culture, it is hard to understand how they are content with so little. But the lessons I learn were so powerful – and just through stepping out in faith, serving God by helping out His people, I received so much in return.
There are so many things to be learnt from stepping out of your comfort zone. That can be on our front doorsteps; something I experienced a while back while undertaking a ‘cookie mission’ – delivering cookies to the community to show the Church’s love and that when it came to the basics, the Church was thinking of the community, and a space to be invited into.
I think at the heart of this post, I want to get the point that actually, mission isn’t ‘big’. It isn’t always building a water tank, or spending 3 months in Africa. That’s not to diminish those actions, as ultimately, everything done to serve God and to seek His Kingdom in the world is amazing. I just can’t help but feel that actually, ‘love’ can be found in the smallest of actions. The ones that can be passed over, or forgotten about. But sometimes, they make the biggest differences. Mission has a place in my heart – and something I want to explore more in the future.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic – get in touch and start a discussion!