Today, we’re sharing Part 3 of a series on our blog called Jesus, the Missionary. (Click here for the Introduction, here for Part 1, and here for Part 2.) We are posting one more lesson we can learn from Jesus’ example and a conclusion to this series. 

Jesus expressed His desire for His disciples—for us.

If we want to do ministry as Jesus did, we need to live with a focus on what He desires. We are not left without knowledge as to what Jesus desires for us as His followers. Jesus expressed His desires for His disciples several times. When we focus on His desires for us, we can focus and prioritize our work. Some of Christ’s desires for us include:

  • Unity (John 17:11,21-22)—Jesus desires the unity of His disciples whether in the church or on a missionary team.
  • Protection, not removal from the world (John 17:15)—Missionaries are thrust into a strange new world. Jesus desires us to impact that world, not withdraw from it. We need to find a way to interact with the world each day wherever we live.
  • The knowledge of His glory (John 17:24)—We will one day observe the full glory of Christ. However, He gives us opportunities to demonstrate His glory through our ministry wherever we are and to invite others to come to know Him in His glory.
  • Guidance and power of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13)—Missionaries can trust the Holy Spirit to show us what we should do and to give us the power to do it.
  • Making of disciples (Matthew 28:19)—The mandate of the Great Commission is the making of disciples. That work goes far beyond initial evangelism and implies the need of intentional relationships with those being discipled.

In these articles, I do not pretend to have exhausted all that we can learn from our Lord on how we are to do missions. However, I hope it serves as a reminder that our work needs to be shaped by His will and His example. 

In my missionary career, I have often been overwhelmed by the magnitude of need around me and frustrated by the indifference of both the needy and of those who could make a difference. I have erroneously believed that more depended on me than was really the case. I have been tempted to look at the difficulty of the work and give up. 

I have also learned the truth of the Scriptures that God does great things through his weak people. I have come to understand that if I do anything in my own strength, it is of no use to God. He alone must receive all the glory. I struggle every day with maintaining the balance that is described in this article and that is seen in the life of Jesus. God help me to keep going in the struggle while relishing the struggle! God help us to come into the rest that He has for us in a work so much bigger than we are! 

Missionary, whomever you are evangelizing or discipling, whatever church you are serving, whatever class you are teaching, whatever ministry you are doing, that is the current extent—the current borders—of your mission field. Don’t spend your time fretting over what remains to be done. Spend your time doing what is before you to do. That was always the way of our Savior. Though limited while He was in human flesh, as we are, He will, in the end, save the redeemed from every nation, tribe, and tongue, one person at a time, using one person at a time.

Thank you for following along the past month on this series about Jesus, the Missionary. You can find links to the previous posts here: Introduction, Part 1, and Part 2

Anthony Steele

Anthony Steele serves as Training Facilitator for Latin America with Reaching & Teaching International Ministries. He is a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div. 1988, D.Miss. 2016) He is married to Beverly and has two children and four grandchildren.

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