The above two pictures illustrate what Great Commission often looks like, between breakthroughs, victories, mission updates, newsletters, conferences, and speaking engagements.
I Went So That You Could Stay. You Stay So That I Can Go.
A Missionary’s Heart by Darryl Record
A Personal Note:
I wrote this as a personal reflection. I did not plan to share it with anyone, and then maybe a few. Now, I believe that I should share it publicly as a way of pursuing true honesty. Some parts of this are raw. The end is encouraging so please read to the end. If pastors are put on pedestals and must carefully climb down, missionaries often find ourselves in decorative emotional cages. This poem helped me unlock the decorative cage door and open it a crack.
To see the other side of the coin from the sender's perspective please read this first:
I am no different from you.
My blood bleeds red just like you.
I feel pain, sorrow, abandonment, and fear just like you.
I know that I am not a better Christian than you.
Honestly, some days it seems that I may not be as good of a Christian as you.
When God called me to be a missionary, He could have just as easily have called you.
All my blessings, joys, and victories could have been you.
All my abandonment, the crimes against me, the injustice, the rejection, and the loneliness could have been you.
All my sickness, suffering, sweat, blood, and tears could have been you.
Don’t be deceived, the Great Commission is not just a job for missionaries like me. It is your job too.
The Great Commission is not just an optional, extra credit project, it is a command, duty, and privilege shared equally by me and you too.
God has joined us together as Great Commission business partners. I know that I need you, but did you know that you need me too?
You may say, “It isn’t me, it is only Christ in me.” This I fully agree is true.
Because of Christ in me, I put myself and my family at much higher risk, so that I can spread the Gospel and equip the saints globally, in place of you.
Because of Christ in me, we risk our lives, health, safety, financial security, relationships with family, and many other things so that we can share our own talents and resources with the needy, in place of you.
You may say, “But you are a missionary, not me, those are your responsibilities!” This too is true.
But when I am no longer able to be a missionary, I pray that God will replace me with many more missionaries.
God may even call you and your family. You may not believe this is true but God made me become a missionary, even though I swore that it was something that I would never do.
If God can move me to the ends of the earth he can definitely move you too, or at least someone close to you.
So what kind of sender do you want me to be for you then, when our roles are reversed?
What should I do for you then, if you “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, now?
What if I then say, “I went so that you could stay. The way you treat missionaries now is the way others may treat your loved ones or yourself as missionaries in the future.”?
Jesus said, “Whatever you have done for the least of these, you have done unto me.”
As a missionary I have dedicated my life to serving the least of these.
Sometimes, I have been the least of these and you have done unto me.
Please do not mistake my previous words of honesty as a rebuke, when really all that I want to say is, “Thanks for allowing Christ to touch me through you!”
When you hugged me and welcomed me home, that was Christ in you, so Jesus hugged me too.
When you took me to restaurants or cooked for me at home, that was Jesus feeding me comfort food through you!
When you took my family to the beach, or Disneyland and so much more, that was Jesus making those memories for my family, which as a missionary, I could never afford to do, through you too.
When you loaned me your car, and then you bicycled to work, that was Jesus carrying my family through you too.
When you forced my wife and I to sleep in your bed while you and your wife slept on air mattresses on the floor, that was Jesus, forcing me sleep well through you too.
When you have sent a check or entered your credit card, that was Jesus giving my family our daily bread, through you too.
When you bought me a coffee and listened to me rant, complain, and moan, that was Jesus helping me let off some steam so I didn’t explode, through you too!
I could go on and on but I want you to know that I have truly experienced God’s love through you, even in the smallest things that you do for me.
You see I cannot give what I have not received. I am only able to allow myself to be God’s Gloves for others because you have already been God’s Gloves to me.
You see, even if it seems that I am asking too much of you, I know that it is not you that I need.
The truth behind my requests and needs is that I really need God to meet my needs.
I have faith that God can meet my needs through thin air but I am thankful that God chose to meet my needs through you instead.
Because something about receiving blessings through thin air might still leave me lonely.
How could I hug the thin air? When I weep, will the thin air hold me? When I am sick will the thin air visit me?
There are so many things that the thin air cannot do, so I am so thankful for you!
I know when we get to heaven we will see Jesus face to face.
But until then, when I think of Jesus, sometimes He looks a lot like you.
God may have touched me through you, when you were God’s gloves to me.
But now I think that maybe sometimes Jesus wears a mask that looks like you too!