I want to be a missionary but I can't because...

My friend walked into the cafe right when another student was getting all flustered because a bunch of short-term trips that he was trying to sign up for all fell through. While they were figuring out what he could do next, he dropped this bomb…

“Well, actually I want to be a long-term missionary, but I can’t because I’m not a doctor and I don’t know how to sing.”

What?! My friend responded in shock and disbelief.

The guy explained how growing up he always saw missionary teams visting from Guatemala come through his church. They would talk about their medical work, and sing during their presentations. For him, this was the picture of missionary work, and he couldn’t do it.

“All I know how to do is to disciple young guys, and I just love sharing the Gospel with people.” He continued, wallowing in his feelings of uselessness. “I’m so underqualified.”

My friend started excitedly telling him how he shouldn’t feel underqualified at all! Sharing the gospel with people and discipling newer believers was exactly what the job was all about. He was totally qualified, and perfect for the job. After this conversation, he ended up moving overseas and becoming a great long-term missionary.

It’s so sad how people disqualify themselves from this apostolic gospel-carrying work that we call ‘missions’ because they have some strange idea of what it is. They might think they need to be medical professionals or business experts, teachers, “church planters,” theology professors or translators. And they often don’t feel capable of any of these intimidating human roles.

Often people see missionary presentations that are focused on the things that we do: the centers we build, the classes we teach, the businesses we run, the projects we started, etc. And people can be led to think that all these human activities are the focal point of the work. But really, the work is about laying down our lives and pointing people to Christ. It’s about walking by faith into new places, and watching God open doors to see his Son revealed.

You don’t need much to become a missionary, or a carrier of the gospel to new places. In fact, you may need to totally abandon or lose whatever skills or education you currently have. What you do need is an obedient, surrendered heart and an ambition to carry the knowledge of Christ to people in places where they don’t know him.

You don’t need to be able to do anything humanly useful. You don’t need to be able to have some crucial profession or skill. You just need to lay down your life for the gospel.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:10-11)

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