Our guest blogger and OMF missionary in Japan, Levi Booth, explores missionaries’ need for the gospel:
I thought I’d write a blog on blogging. Now there’s probably a saying that you shouldn’t blog about blogging. Just write something useful to the readers. Nobody wants to hear introspective mumblings.
But this isn’t a blog post about blogging. It’s about the gospel.
OK, fine, it’s about the gospel and blogging. Satisfied?
No, of course you’re not. Readers of blogs are never satisfied. They simply demand more and more. Pouring out silent criticism on all they read. Or at least that’s how it often feels.
I project my self doubt and insecurities onto my readers. Assuming that they will view my writings without mercy. And so I don’t write. Or rather, I write but I don’t publish.
In Need of the Gospel
Yes, bloggers need the gospel too. Even those who blog about the gospel. Even [checks nobody is watching me type] missionaries who get asked to blog about mission and the gospel. I need the gospel.
Because here’s the thing. We serve a generous God – a ridiculously generous God. But often we tend to view him in the same way the servant viewed his master in the parable of the talents.
In case you’re hazy on the details, a rich guy entrusts three of his servants with bags of gold of various sizes and then goes off travelling somewhere. When he gets back, two of his servants have doubled their cash and the master puts them in charge of cities (like you do).
But when it comes to the third servant, we get this,
“I knew that you were a hard master . . . so I was afraid and I hid the money you gave me.” (Matthew 25: 24-25)
The servant had received a gift from his master. He had been entrusted ‘according to his ability.’ He wasn’t the top servant, but he was in the top three, and he got entrusted with a figurative tonne of cash. The master had faith in him. However he didn’t have faith in his `hard` master. He was afraid of failing, so he hid his talent.
So often – too often – I do the same. I look at those around me and see that I’m not the most talented. So instead of using what I have been given, and over time being entrusted with more as my gift grows, I bury it in the ground and no one wins.
For example, writing. I love writing. I do it all the time. Sometimes mid-conversation. Someone says something that triggers an idea, and I just zone out and start crafting sentences in my head.
But writing isn’t meant to stay in our heads. Heads, and notepads and word documents, are for sorting out the good ideas from the bad ones and working out how to say them in the best way we can. We are meant to publish our ideas for the world to see.
The driving force here should be the generous nature of God. His grace. His superabundant grace whereby he entrusts us with talents to use for the good of others. He is not ‘harsh’ or ‘demanding,’ he smiles on our good efforts, even when we write something that isn’t as good as it could be. He is our master, but he is also our Father. The ground and proof of that is the cross of Jesus. The gospel motivates me, not just to write blogs, but to a life of mission.
`He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?` (Romans 8:32)
Except when I forget the grace of God. Or when I reduce it, tying it up with conditions and limitations – “Sure God can save me apart from anything I do, but he couldn’t possibly save others through something I do.” – then I end up paralysed and mute. Whether it’s blogging, or preaching, or just talking with friends about Jesus over a bowl of ramen, missionaries need the gospel to free us up to be bold in using the gifts God has entrusted us with.
So pray for the missionaries you know. And maybe write to them too. Remind them of God’s grace. Rejoice with them over the truths of the gospel. We need it. You can serve the global church much more than you know. Use your talents: encourage us to use ours.