“I hope you like raw fish!” my friend teased, when he heard that I was headed to Japan to be a missionary.
Actually, I do like raw fish! Of course, there is a lot more to Japanese cuisine than just raw fish. But even if I had disliked Japanese food in general, that would not have stopped me from coming to Japan as a missionary. Sharing Jesus with the Japanese people is worth so much more than eating the food I like.
If you are considering investing your time, money, or your whole future career in missions, you might be asking: Is this really worth the sacrifice? Some sacrifices are much more significant than the food you eat. You may be called upon to give up worldly aspirations, time with loved ones, a sense of personal accomplishment, or a comfortable lifestyle.
All Christians are called to a life of sacrifice
All of us who are disciples of Jesus are called to give up our lives every day to follow him, not just missionaries. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23 ESV). Whatever our age, location, or sphere of work—as Christians we are called upon daily to die to selfish desire as we serve God and those around us.
“Is missions worth the sacrifice?” is probably the wrong question. The real question should be: Is Jesus worth the sacrifice? The answer to that is an emphatic Yes! We could never give too much to the one who gave up himself for us. Love for Jesus is what leads to service for Jesus. He died for us so that we would live for him. (2 Cor. 5:15)
Sometimes, frankly, I don’t see much progress in our work for the kingdom here in Japan. But as long as this is where God wants me and my family, I don’t have to ask whether it is worth it. Whatever role he may give us in whatever part of the world, there will be sacrifices to be made in the name of Jesus. But nothing done for him is ever wasted.
By Joel, an OMF missionary