Number the Blessings of Front-Line Missions
For 2,000 years, thousands of missionaries—unnamed people of whom the world is not worthy—have counted this cost and put their lives at risk to reach the lost with the only message of salvation in the world. And the reason they could do this is because the blessings so outweigh the costs.
May the Lord make these 10 blessings that I am about to name overcome all your fears and give you a passion to know him like this.
1. The blessing of being sent by Christ.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
“I am sending you out.” It is a deeply satisfying thing to be sent by the living Christ into his work.
2. The blessing of being given words by the Spirit of God.
“When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matt 10.19–20″>Matthew 10:19–20)
What a wonderful thing it is to sense the presence and power of the Spirit in your life, giving you the words you need.
3. The blessing of experiencing God’s fatherly care.
“For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matt 10.20b”>Matthew 10:20b)
Jesus makes explicit that the one caring for you is your Father in heaven. You may have to leave father and mother to be a missionary. But you will always have a very attentive Father who cares for you.
4. The blessing of salvation at the end of it all.
“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
When all the cost has been paid, we will have the great end of salvation. We will be raised from the dead with no sorrow or pain or sin, and we will see Christ and enter into his joy and hear the words, in spite of all our imperfections, “Well done” (Matthew 25:21, Matthew 25.23″>23).
5. The blessing of knowing that the Son of Man is coming in judgment and mercy.
“You will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” (Matt 10.23b”>Matthew 10:23b)
This was a great encouragement to those persecuted disciples. Jesus comes at just the right time in historical judgments and deliverances, and he will come at the last day and vindicate all his people.
6. The blessing of belonging to Jesus’ household.
“If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.” (Matt 10.25b”>Matthew 10:25b)
Whatever rejection we may experience, Jesus wants us to be sure we are always aware: This rejection is a sign that you belong to me. You are part of my household.
7. The blessing of knowing that the truth will triumph.
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” (Matthew 10:26)
Nothing is hidden that will not be known. For a season in this world, people will mock your proclamation of the truth. They will say, “What is truth!” But know this, and hold fast to this blessing: The truth will be known. Your proclamation will be vindicated. “Nothing is hidden that will not be known.” Count on it. What is scoffed at now will be written across the sky someday. And one minute of that vindication before all your enemies will make every act of patient endurance worthwhile.
8. The blessing of having an immortal soul.
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” (Matthew 10:28)
Henry Martyn, the missionary to Persia, said that he was immortal till his work on earth was done. True. And he would have also agreed that in the fuller sense: You are immortal after your work on earth is done.
9. The blessing of having a heavenly Father who sovereignly rules the smallest details of life.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” (Matthew 10:29)
Jesus mentions the fall of a sparrow to the ground because nothing is more insignificant than that. Yet God, your Father, oversees that and governs that. So you may always know that your Father, who loves you as his precious child, oversees and governs every detail of your life.
10. The blessing of being valued by God.
“Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31)
God does not despise his children. He values his children, for two reasons: One is that in union with Jesus Christ all of his perfection is imputed to us. The other is that by his Spirit we are being changed from one degree of glory to the next, and God loves the sanctifying work of his own hands.
In the End, What Counts?
To be sure, as you discern God’s call on your life, take into account your gifts, consider the need, consult your church. But in the end, the question is this: Is there an unrelenting, recurring desire to spend and be spent for the glory of Christ among unreached peoples of the world?