It was from Antioch, Syria that Paul was sent forth by the congregation there, for his 3 great Missionary journeys, described in Acts, which covered 2 continents. It was in this Antioch that disciples of Jesus, both Jews and Greeks were first called ‘Christians’ i.e. ‘those who belong to or follow Christ’. In fact, there were 3 great evangelistic breakthroughs that had taken place there, not long before the name ‘Christian’ was first used on the followers of Jesus.
The Hebrew word for worship and work is from the same root word – Avodah and appears in the Bible at least 1,214 times, as a noun or verb or in substantive forms. This is to show that there is no distinction between work and worship before the eyes of God, and can thus be summed up as ‘my work is my worship’.
I remember a mission trip many years ago in India. I was excited that day, as I was finally assigned to a team of OMers after spending a week of summer camp in Mumbai. The team comprises members from Gujarat, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra. We then embarked on a trip which took us more than 3 hours on the road, and arrived at a church on the outskirts of Pune where we would spend the night.
At sixteen, Amy served as an usher at a GoForth conference – these were mega Missions conferences held at the Suntec Convention Centre and thousands came each night to hear what God what doing all over the world. The speaker on the last evening was James Taylor. Imagine her shock when he started his greetings in Mandarin and the Chinese pastor next to him translated that into English.
One of the most important lesson I learnt in my journey as a missionary is that God is more interested in His work in me than my work for Him. I, like many missionaries, was willing to make the necessary sacrifice because I was motivated to make my life count and do something significant for God. This performance-oriented motivation was the first thing that had to die in order that the life of Jesus may be manifested to the people around me.
A presenter at Global Conference on World Evangelization (GCOWE) remarked, “If you are not on fire for God, you’re fired!” He underscored the importance of our hearts being set aflame for Missio Dei, the mission of God. Now we stand at the threshold of ushering the 3rd decade of the new millennium. The question remains: Where are we in reaching the lost and the least reached?