This question rolls around in my mind.
What makes a good missionary?
To many times, missionaries, (and most Christians), try to justify their value by what they do. But as His child, my value is in Him, not in what I do.
I think God just wants us to be; to seek Him first in all things, whether we are missionaries overseas writing software, planting churches, translating scripture, teaching, administrating; or at home raising children, loving our spouse, reaching out to our neighbors, volunteering in church activities, teaching Sunday school, etc. My primary goal is to seek His glory.
As I read Acts 14 about Paul and Barnabas I am struck by four things that stand out -
1)boldness; "The quality that really makes a difference in the
Christian's life is the quality of fearlessness--the declaration
of the truth in the face of opposition. Having a tremendous commitment to boldness, Paul didn't know how to live any
other way. In 1 Thessalonians 2:2 he says, "But after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know,
we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel."
Even after they had been beaten up and were treated
shamefully, they were still bold. Paul could never be daunted; there just was not any way to stop him." (quote from John MacArthur)
2)humility; God was everything to Paul. Paul didn't want any glory, and neither does any successful servant of God. His mandate in Matthew 6:33 is my life guide - to seek HIM first.
3)persistence; one example of this in our own life was in the caring for Jerard. Anyone with a special needs child will understand the weight of care there can be and the abundant joy that go hand in hand. We persevered in caring for him and getting him physical therapy, etc. He was a blessing to us, a special visitor from heaven.
And we are exercising persistence in the adoption of James. Things can move slow, so it seems, here, yet there is great peace in knowing that my Abba has all things planned. The key to persistence is maximizing every opportunity. Behind every obstacle is an opportunity. Persistence means using every opportunity. In Colossians 4:5, Paul said we're to be faithfully "redeeming the time."
and 4)commitment. I'm sure Paul and Barnabas were weary and tired from their travels, yet they kept pressing on.
We, too, keep pressing on. We are weary and more than ready for a furlough/home assignment of at least a year back in our home country reconnecting with friends and family. But we press on in His timing, in parenting for His glory, in our work, in the adoption of James, in every area of life God shows us. The main goal for me, for Kurt and I, is to hear "well done good and faithful servant".
Christians who are obedient to fulfill God's Word make successful missionaries, whether they travel far from their homes or not. Each of us should have the goal to emulate Christ.
Paul came to the end of his life saying, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).
This is my hope; this is the hope of every successful missionary: to finish the course, the keep the faith, to one day hear "Well done, good and faithful servant."