As I mentioned recently, there is always the possibility that once I have written a blog post, someone else will come out and deal with the same subject far more elegantly. Another example of this sort of thing comes from the coffee break at an international mission meeting. Let me explain…
The morning kicked off with devotions and the speaker gave a talk which was very similar in content to this blog post (I think it was an example of convergent evolution rather than plagiarism). The speaker said something pretty much along the lines of my words:
Have you ever wondered why God calls us to mission? Why on earth would he put the treasure of the gospel into clay pots? Cracked pots, at that! It isn’t as though he needs us. If all he wants is to see the gospel preached and the Bible translated, he could call on an army of angels who could do the job more quickly and impressively than you or I. God doesn’t need us to reach the world for Christ…
Anyway, over coffee break, a colleague (who is far too clever) came up to me and said that he disagreed with the devotions. He explained that God’s mission involves reconciling all things in heaven and earth through the death of Christ on the cross (Colossians 1:20) and we are part of the all things. This means that God does need us in his mission, because we are the objects of it – without us being reconciled to him, God can never complete his mission.
I must admit, I’d never thought of it like that and I can’t actually disagree. In fact, I think I caught the essence of this in my post.
There are many ways to be involved in mission: giving, praying, going or telling your friends about what God is doing. However we are involved, we come closer to the heart of God and he uses our experience to help us grow more like him. God doesn’t just use us to reach out to the world; he is at work in our lives, too; transforming us.
Our involvement in mission is one of the ways in which God transforms us into the people he desires us to be.
Another important insight in my colleague’s comment was the way in which we all to easily reduce mission to preaching and teaching (or Bible translation) and fail to catch the full Biblical picture of all that God is doing in the world.
This quote from Chris Wright gives some background to this sort of thinking.