What is a Missionary?

S omewhere between saintliness and foolishness we find a curious creature called a missionary. Missionaries come in assorted sizes, weights and colors, but all

are sent by one Lord Who commanded His people to evangelize. Missionaries are found everywhere: going to, lifting up, launching out, coming from, staying with, bringing around, bearing with and standing for. Christians love them, governments tolerate them, pagans ignore them and Christ protects them. A missionary is truth with a broken jeep axle in his hand, beauty with a sick child in his arms, wisdom with a Bible in his pocket and hope with Christ in his heart. A missionary has the patience of a fisherman, the audacity of a tightrope walker, the vision of a dreamer, the strength of a builder, the intelligence of a teacher, the wit of a humorist, and when he attempts something he is all prayer. He likes letters from home, children, preaching, mission recruits, returning from furlough, faith-promise rallies, tracts, printing presses, radio stations, translators, mission boxes, airplanes, villages, Bible studies, cities, correspondence courses, and bookstores. He is not much for high pressure promotion, red-tape, devaluation of the dollar, lukewarm faith, hypocrisy or discrimination. Nobody else is so quick to care and so slow to give up. Nobody else gets so much fun out of crocodiles, boiled rice, elephants, pet snakes, earthquakes, visas, monsoons, droughts and conversations. Missionaries are unusual creatures: you can send them to a far-off place, but you had better not forget them. You can get them out of your hair, but you can’t get them out of your heart. They are your servants, your right hands, your dependents, a Bible-preaching-God-fearing-God-serving-self-sharing bundle of love. When you come to church with that smug feeling that you are a pretty super Christian the missionary can shatter it with the simple words: “Come on over and help us.” A missionary needs the wisdom of an owl, the tenacity of a bulldog, the daring of a lion, the patience of a donkey, the versatility of a chameleon, the vision of an eagle, the melody of the nightingale, the meekness of a lamb, the tact of a politician, the hide of a rhinoceros, the disposition of an angel, the resignation of an incurable, the faithfulness of a prophet, the tenderness of a shepherd, the fervency of an evangelist, the devotion of a mother, the sacrifice of a martyr, and the loyalty of an apostle. But missionaries are not born; they are made. They are made out of the ordinary run of individuals. The basic qualification is not intellectualism, but a yielded spirit, a devotion to the will of God and a deep sense of God’s call.

From the August edition of the Valley View Christian Church magazine. Author unknown.

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