What does a missionary look like?
I. He/She has a Compassionate Heart (
For Paul, the love of Christ constrained him. Effective Christian missionaries must be able to demonstrate that “God’s love floods our hearts” (
II. He/She has a Clear Mind (
Knowledge of the facts of our gospel and the world as well — as effective communication skills — are essential for Christian missionary work. Ours is not a day for gray “gray matter.”
To give answers to serious seekers we must, with Paul, know the: (1) Traps of legalism (
Proclaim the clear, simple truth: “Look unto me, and be ye saved all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else” (
III. He/She has Consecrated Feet (
Actually you need only one consecrated foot! “A one-legged school teacher from Scotland offered himself for service in China. ‘With only one leg why do you think of going as a missionary?,’ asked his friend. ‘I do not see people with two legs going,’ replied the one-legged candidate for missionary service. He was accepted.”1
By consecrated feet I mean: (1) Stand for the Savior. Our marching orders are “forward into battle, see His banner go.”
(2) Search for the sheep. When Henry L. Anderson, 33 years a missionary to China died, his son received many messages of condolence. The one he most treasured read, “Somewhere today in … eternity, a host of people have gathered at the gates of heaven to welcome your father home — a host that would not have been there had it not been for him.”2
IV. He/She has a Communicating Mouth (
The missionary must call for more laborers. Cameron Townsend, at the World’s Fair in 1964, reminded visitors to an exhibit of his life’s work — translating the Bible into a thousand languages and dialects — that “there are 2,000 tongues to go.”3
The need still remains. Missionaries must not only report on their work but urge others to join.
Yet the missionary primarily calls unto the lost to be saved. Medical, social, economic needs all are important, but they cannot replace the need of a lost soul to know Christ.
V. He/She has Courting Hands (
The extended hands show the interest of a believer in Christ for the lost person. “I care for you as a person” must be portrayed.
Paul told the Thessalonians, “being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us” (
The missionary also incarnates the invitation of Jesus to “come unto me … and I will give you rest.” Sometimes the invitation is refused but the servant of God is patient.
What does a missionary look like? He or she looks like Jesus!
1. The Sword of Truth.
2. The Commission, May 1974.
3. Charles and Ruby Treadway, Fifty Character Stories (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1969), p. 28.