Missions is a calling, not a burden

I have two friends: One willingly engages the Missions Conference message, and the other avoids as much of Missions Conference as possible.

Nathan Bennett, Writer

Two dear friends of mine once expressed different responses to Missions Conference. One said that he wanted to be sensitive to God, so he wrestled with whether God was calling him into missions. Because the issue of calling was on the table, he considered it. Another said that he was committed to another ministry, and speaker’s calls for commitment turned him against Missions Conference. Overriding calls for commitment to missions overloaded his sense of compassion.

Both of my friends would agree that missionary work is important and that someone ought to do it. Both of them love God and live to please him. One willingly engages the Missions Conference agenda and the other avoids as much of Missions Conference as possible.

I was an ICS major when I went to Biola. I loved Missions Conference. I will probably go to as much of Missions Conference as I can, even though I have graduated. I volunteered at Missions Conference when I was a student. I even led a prayer group through SMU. I was excited about missions, and I wanted to encourage others who had a similar calling.

At the same time, advocacy campaigns such as Invisible Children would harangue me to draw my compassion and involvement. Door to door solicitations in the dorms to gather spare change for mission trips or financially struggling students set me on edge.

I think I am a compassionate person, yet somehow Invisible Children videos and students with cups of quarters irked and angered me. To some extent, they still do; I cannot do or even feel something for all of them.

There are diverse ministries, each requiring men and materials. The world’s needs are great and humans are God’s chosen instruments to meet those needs, but we exasperate each other through pleas for time and money.

Jesus is sometimes used as a trump card. Jesus wants us in missions, soup kitchens, and social advocacy — all of these things. Sometimes we are deeply committed to God-honoring ministries and cannot commit to more. However, we must continually listen to the voice of God.

Remember that your time at Biola ends in four years. For those who are called, do not wear out those who are otherwise called; do not even wear out those who are not called. It takes “a long obedience in the same direction” for you to make a difference. If you brand your friends as incorrigible enemies, you will cauterize healthy flesh as a malignant wound. Let us serve God with all our might, yet let us not desiccate each other in the process.

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