At our church, we try to follow seven basic principles of missions. Here is principle number three.
Principle Three: Help with Humility
One of the major characteristics of a missionary should be humility. We should enter the mission field just as Jesus entered His mission field… earth with its inhabitants.
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart…” (Matthew 11:28-2a). He referred to Himself as being “humble in heart”.
Jesus also said in Matthew 20:28, “…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Humility allows a person to serve rather than being served.
How does humility translate into the mission field?
We should try to study and learn about culture and stay within cultural parameters whenever possible. We do our best to avoid telling the one being served what to do and how to do it unless we are asked first.
We try to remember that we go to serve the people and we do as they ask us to do (as long as it is not sinful or unbiblical). We are servants and so we stay where they ask us to stay, we eat what they serve us and we do not complain or ask for better.
Once a relationship is established and they ask us for help or how to do something better… we bring our expertise to them.
Some years ago, I was informed of a situation that occurred while one of our relief teams was serving through Habitat for Humanity in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. A team from a church was sent to help build homes. Their desire was to do framing work. When they were informed that there was no framing that needed to be done and that they would be doing dry wall work, they packed up and left the work site because they could not do what they wanted to do.
Concurrently, I was told that the management team really appreciated our Katrina Team because they would do anything they were asked to do without hesitation or reluctance. Our team also stayed where they were assigned to stay and ate what they were served without complaint. Needless to say, I was very proud of our team.
The Apostle Paul also had something to say about living a life of humility. He wrote in Romans 12:3 that “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
And so, whenever and wherever God calls us, we should proceed with humility from on high. We strap our sandals as Jesus did and serve instead of being served and be willing to give of our lives in service of others that they may come to know the humble King of the universe.
Something to think about…