What is mission work?

I was asked one time what I thought missions was. I have come to realize that it is two different things, but we often consider it as only one.

1. To witness about the life saving work of God through Jesus Christ.
2. To help feed the hungry, bring medicine to the sick, school to the illiterate, create access to clean water, etc. Meeting basic human needs and rights that so many live without.

The two stand as seperate issues. Both are needed but not necessarily together. They can support each other, or stand alone. I think our mistake comes in assuming that if you need the later, you must also need the former. If you don't have food, you must also not know Jesus. If you have ever done mission work, you would agree. There are many I have met who have much, much, much less than I do, but have a deeper rooted faith in God that would put mine to shame. (not that we are comparing.)

Sometimes as Christians I think we feel that if we are going to go and serve the basic needs of people than we must speak the name of Jesus and his truth into thier life. Isn't just showing up and caring about the basic needs of people just as God intended? If we are in a place that is helping meet those needs, than God is there. In fact, in just showing up, many of those who have needs to be met recoginze you as the answer to their prayer and give God the glory.

I do my acts of love in the name of Jesus, not that you have to know him. If I only act to persuade you to know and love God, than I will be discouraged if you don't. And if you don't in turn come to love Jesus, than do I stop loving you? Are you now not worthy of his love becuase you don't love him in return? I pray that how God uses me to love you will point you to Him, but in the end, I love you and serve you because he has commanded me to. And knowing God has created a desire in me to love you. The person I serve, and ultimelty am loving, has their own walk with the Lord. My walk with the Lord demands my time and attention and heart to the poor. In all we do we give God glory and credit for what we do, which of course we hope and pray points others to Him. But their believing in him does not waiver our committment to helping.

If you want to verbally witness and share Christ with all people, you don't have to do ministry in the slums. Maybe the better place for you to spend your time is with the middle and upper class folks. They have a lot to distract them from God's presence in thier lives. If your heart aches for people who live in unhumane conditions, than working to illimante that is very Christ like.

Both missions are needed, but not the same. They can work together and they can work seperate. But realize they are different.