Lord Make Me a Servant
Before Jesus returned to the Father He left instructions for His followers recorded in Matthew 28 :18-19. The instructions were simple. Go into all the world and preach the gospel, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We know this as the great commission. Over the years that followed arguments would arise as to whose responsibility it was to carry out the great commission and not only carry it out but how was it to be accomplished. Some people thought all they had to do was simply to send money and if they did not have the money to send then they felt bad because they could not accomplish what Jesus instructed them to do.
As I travel around the country talking about the mission work in the Republic of Panama I try to talk about how each individual whether young or old can become involved in mission work, that is preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. You might remember the apostle Paul when he wrote, “Whatever you do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ giving thanks to God and the Father by Him”. (Colossians 3:17) I heard a short poem one time that goes something like this: You are writing a gospel a chapter a day by the deeds that you do and the things that you say. People read what you write whether faulty or true. Say, what is the gospel according to you”? My question is what are you doing to carry the gospel to the world? And secondly, do you consider it your responsibility to be part of a mission work?
Let me give you some illustrations of people doing mission work and you answer the question.
People call me all the time from all over the United States asking what can they do to be part of the work we're doing in Panama? Sara Bills coordinator of Operation Christmas Joy receives many e-mails and telephone calls from individuals who desire to become involved in this program. She then will give them instructions of how they can go to our website to download the information or where she can mail it to them.
I recently met a couple at our warehouse who has reached their senior years and drove to Montgomery from Macon Georgia, a three-hour drive to deliver baseball equipment they had collected for the baseball programs we have on going in Panama. This has become this man's mission, to collect baseball equipment so the children can have something to do in their communities. As a result a young base ball couch from Birmingham became involved and between the two has collected enough equipment so that we now have several teams playing baseball. This is doing mission work. It is part of spreading the gospel. In this same congregation in Georgia there is a particular lady who has taken on the idea of spreading the gospel through making of dresses for the children of Panama. This year she has made or has helped others make over 500 dresses. Another church from Arkansas has made over 300 dresses. People all over the United States are now sewing for Panama. Some have even made baby blankets and burp clothes for expectant mothers. I stopped by a church last week and one lady was making baby bags while another was filling candy bags to be placed in the gifts.
My point is, mission work is not just about sending money, it’s about serving and about demonstration of who we are. We are to be people who reach out to the downtrodden, the hurting and the hungry. Did not Jesus leave us an example of how we were to treat one another and how we were to serve one another? The Bible says that Jesus went about doing good. (Acts 10 38) and then in another location Peter said, Jesus is our example and we should follow in his footsteps. (I Peter 2:21) Look at Matthew 9 and 15 reading about how Jesus felt about helping those in need. The disciples began to complain about the resources or lack there of.
Because people care for people they do not know and perhaps even more importantly for people who cannot pay them back they are doing mission work. Oh yes we do need money but I'm afraid so much has become focused on money that we forget those that serve, those who like the woman with the alabaster box when Jesus said to the disciples, “let her alone she has done what she could”. Have you done what you can do for the gospel of Jesus Christ? You can be a missionary without ever leaving the comforts of home. Thousands of learned this and have become excited when they see the results of their efforts. Elders and leaders of churches everywhere feel proud of their membership when people serve others. The men in one congregation built racks to display the works of their ladies who had worked so hard making dresses for Panama. Another congregation hung them all around the building for others to see.
I have people who travel with me to Panama who ask what he or she can do in the mission field? I want to go but I do not know how to teach and I cannot preach and so what can I do? Before we depart every person on my teams understands what their responsibilities are. There are some who work in construction mixing concrete helping people's houses become more comfortable by putting in a concrete floor. Others have helped wire houses so they can have electricity. Others help with water projects giving people good drinkable water. Some work in the medical field helping heal bodies using their God-given talents in service to others. Our youth work with the children in VBS. I am sure you remember the parable in Matthew 25 when Jesus gave different people different talents. The Bible says he gave to every person according to their ability. God never expects anyone to do that which they cannot do for we serve a loving and kind and understanding God.
Yes you can sit on the seat of do nothing asking, what can I do or you can get busy living and serving and making a difference where you are. To quote a phrase in a movie, “you can get busy living or you can get busy dying”. We can get busy doing the Lords work or we can die spiritually by doing nothing. People who sit around looking for others to do the work are already dead spiritually. They are just waiting for the funeral.
In mission work it is the end result that we are looking for and that is seeing people turn their hearts and lives over to Jesus Christ by submitting to Him in obedience to His will. Whether you are actually on site doing the teaching or you're one of those servants who live thousands of miles away sitting at a sewing machine or on the telephone asking people to donate baseball equipment or bagging candy or collecting material so others can be more effective you are helping bring someone to Jesus Christ through your actions, through your deeds.
Last year three of my grandchildren traveled to Panama with their parents to help put in playground equipment for a community. Before they departed for Panama these children ranging from age 6 to 13 made a lemonade stand and sold lemonade and cookies, $60 worth. Taking this money to Panama they purchased food for a family that was desperately poor. They did what they could.
My friends, that's all Jesus asked us to do, do what you can with what you have. Find ways to serve whether here in the United States of America in your own community and in the church where you attend. Be busy in the Lords kingdom whether you are in your senior years or just a child. There is something for you to do. I challenge each one of you to take your Bible and look up the words, “ one another”. Just a few: Serve one another, Love one another, Comfort one another, forgive one another, and the list goes on.
God bless each one of you for being part of this ministry. Please pass this message on and encourage your children and your grandchildren to become involved in the Lords work for there is much to do. Remember the words of Jesus, “I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day for the night comes when no man can work”. (John 9:4)