November 15, 2015
When you think of the term missionary, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
Merriam-Webster defines the term missionary as: a person undertaking a mission and especially a religious mission
Certainly, the contemporary definition of the word missionary would be somebody sent out by a Christian church to spread the gospel message of Christ. When we think of famous Christian missionaries we think of names like Eric Liddell, David Livingstone, Lottie Moon, George Muller, or Hudson Taylor. These are people who spent much of their lives sharing the Word of God by undertaking the mission given to them by Christ.
Without a doubt, the apostle Paul was one of the most influential missionaries that God has ever put in the field to share God’s Word. It was as a result of Paul’s three major missionary journeys, as described in the book of Acts, that the gospel message was spread throughout the Middle-East and Europe.
Our lesson today gives us Paul’s philosophy on missions. He was never one to sit in a church, whether it was a beautiful church or simply a barn somewhere, and wait for people to come to him. Paul was tasked to be Christ’s minister to the Gentiles, so he went out into the world preaching the gospel message of Jesus Christ where it had never been taught before.
Paul’s undying vision of missions was to evangelize to the lost, to pioneer new fields, to plan strategically, to go by the Spirit’s leading, to be independent of the financial support of the home church, and, on the contrary, to teach his converts the joy of giving, and, above all, to be a constant source of blessing. These were the things that comprised the missionary philosophy of Paul. It is no wonder that he turned the world upside down.