Let me ask you a question.
Where do you spend most of your time?
For many of us it is our workplace.
We spend much of our day and much of our weeks in the office, on the field, behind the computer, interacting with our co-workers… all… the… time…
Yet for many of us, we have a hard time recognizing the fact that maybe God has placed us there for a reason.
I'd like to talk about one of the many reasons why God may have placed us where we are at. Before I do, I want to mention quickly that one of the most important reasons is that work in itself is godly and good. Participating in good works, hard work, is a privilege we have and it helps us to emulate the God we serve. After all, God worked and is still at work today. (For more on this check out “God at Work”, sermon #5, Genesis Album) However, today, I simply want to share one obvious reason why God has us where we are at.
Many times we think mission is the place we go and unpack the gospel for the natives in foreign soil. But often mission is and starts at the place we unpack our lunches. Actually, I believe to be a great oversees missionary someday you must first earn your stripes by being a compassionate friend, child, parent, neighbor, and co-worker here. What I’ve noticed is that we often gear up for mission like we gear up for an adventure trip with our buddies. Think about it. We meet for missions prep bible studies, we study the land and culture we’ll visit, the church gets involved in raising funds to help us go where no man has gone before. So, we imagine in our minds people who need us, who are desperate for our arrival, and no matter how inconvenient the trip, the land, the people, we prepare our hearts to give. All this while our relationships here may not be quite healthy, reconciled, good. All this while our co-workers rarely experience heartfelt, prepared, compassion from us. We have tried to love our global neighbor while our literal neighbor slowly fades away from our missional conscience.
But what is a missionary?
A missionary is a person on a mission. If that’s the case, aren’t we all missionaries? And doesn’t all spheres of influence, all environments we inhabit qualify as the mission field? Isn’t it fair to say that if we are not bold enough to create lasting friendships, practice compassion care, endure in loving prayer for our co-workers that we in effect have simply become mission junkies who use foreign experiences simply to cater to our desperate need for more adventure and spiritual highs?
Allow me to suggest an alternative.
See the world through God’s eyes. Everyone matters, in every corner of the world. Your nosey co-worker in the next cubicle, the annoying manager who double checks your work, the janitor who comes by to take your trash from your office, the barista that takes your order every grumpy morning. They matter. Los Angeles matters. Orange County matters. Mozambique matters. They all matter to God. This means that the adventure lies wherever you choose to see through God’s eyes.
It’s the ones we live with and work alongside who are first neighbors. They give us creditability and authority when we visit to love on neighbors across the globe. Let’s look with fresh eyes our neighbor and let’s prepare to love, give, and be there for them daily. They are a gift to us. They offer us a chance to be like Jesus daily rather than once a summer.
Special thanks to Mike, Ellis, Steve, Jason, and Angela for the pictures and representing Ekko so well in their workplace. They are truly living the Quiet Life! To God be the glory.
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