“The servant who knows what his master wants and ignores it, or insolently does whatever he pleases, will be thoroughly thrashed. But if he does a poor job through ignorance, he’ll get off with a slap on the hand. Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!"
This semester I am studying missions. Early missionaries, especially those we are studying this week in Latin America, persevered in their efforts to spread the good news of Jesus. The question that comes to my mind after watching the movie The Mission for class, and after reading the section below is, "So, why can't we persevere in our efforts to share the good news of Jesus?"
"Dussel describes what they were up against in spreading the good news: “They crossed innumerable rivers – one missionary wrote of having forded twenty-five different rivers in a distance of only ten kilometers or six miles. They moved through dense jungles, parched deserts, and mountain areas covered with snow and ice. They survived innumerable fevers and insects by the millions, moving without the benefit of maps and oftentimes without guides (Macdonald Class Notes)."
And we, at times, have trouble sharing Jesus with our next door neighbors, or with the person down the street, or with the person at work.
I love the great outdoors and the challenges that it brings. Reading about these missionaries this week in class, and watching The Mission, excites me and makes me want to hit the trail, and backpack, and conquer the wilderness with gusto!
I am confronted with the reality, however, that these missionaries were not traipsing through the Jungle, fording rivers, enduring sickness, and bushwhacking without guides for adventures sake. They endured these hardships and difficulties for the sake of the mission. They did it for the Gospel's sake. They did it for the love of their neighbor. They did it for their love of Jesus.
While this week's study and watching The Mission made me want to climb waterfalls, and visit the jungles of South America, I realize that my excitement is not as great for evangelism and mission, as it is for adventure itself. Are these mutually exclusive? Can we enjoy the adventure of sharing Jesus as we enjoy the adventure that sharing Jesus and obeying Him brings? Where will our obedience to Jesus take us?
I think about the Apostle Paul's missionary journeys as I read this week's lectures and think of mission, and I think about all Paul endured to spread the gospel. I think about how much more advanced we all are now in the 21st century, and I think of how much technology we have, and how much better we can communicate and navigate. I am left wondering: Are we taking the challenge to bring the gospel to unexplored lands? Are we even thinking that we should walk down the street to share the gospel with that neighbor?
I have maps and compasses and I have a G.P.S. unit in my glove box of my four wheel drive S.U.V. that will take me anywhere in the world that I want to go without incident. What resources do you have? Where will the Lord lead us with what He has given us to serve Him?
In His Service, on His Mission, and by His Grace,
Macdonald, Rev. Canon John A. History of Mission in Latin America: The Roman Catholic Church, Part ½, Week of February 22, 2010, ME 500 Online, © 2010
Peterson, Eugene H.: The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, Colo. : NavPress, 2002, S. Lk 12:47-48