“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(Matt 28:18-20)
Every follower of Jesus Christ is familiar with this foundational passage of scripture, what a beautiful and clear mandate to spread the incredible good news of the Gospel! And what a true picture of the servant heart of Christ are those who answer the missionary call to fulfill this. I have a special place in my heart for missionaries - what a sacrifice, what a true commitment to our precious Savior and beloved God. I happily support missions wholeheartedly with my prayers, resources, whatever I can – not everyone can do what they do, I know I couldn’t. Or could I?
When a well-intentioned couple took a couple of the local kids under their wing while on vacation to a tropical destination it was a sweet and beautiful thing. Pizza, snorkeling, new flip-flops, etc., and sorely needed attention and love for these neglected, scruffy and hungry little kiddos – yes it was a sweet sight indeed! When the couple’s departure day came, they promised the kids they would keep in touch, they would help them, send them “care packages” etc. The neighbor next door agreed to receive the packages and make sure they were delivered to them.
A few packages came, but then they became fewer and farther between and eventually stopped, they usually do. The kids would drop by the neighbor’s place with hopeful and expectant faces and ask if anything had come. Hopeful faces turned to sad and dejected ones and this troubled the neighbor. It broke her heart, so she offered to make a grilled cheese sandwich for them, and invited them to sit with her on her porch. They were hungry – and not just for food.
The neighbor was a believing Christian but had never “witnessed” before, or really even shared the Gospel, but she knew that these kids had a Cross-shaped hole in their heart in addition to having an empty belly. So she just fed them and tried her best to show the love of Christ to them through her actions and encouraging words. Days turned into weeks which seasoned into months, and the kids kept coming. For food, to get help with their homework, get a boo-boo bandaged up, whatever was needed – it varied. They would bring a friend occasionally, then another, and another, pretty soon there was about 15 of them.
The neighbor was a little overwhelmed, but every day she would put on a pot of fresh hearty soup and made sure there was plenty of milk in the fridge and the makings for grilled cheese sandwiches. Her prayers and dialogues with God were a mixed bag, they went something like this: “Lord, how can I help these kids? I can’t save them, I wouldn’t even know where to start.”
She felt the answer she received was, “It’s not your job to save them, that’s MY job. Just meet their need, just feed them and show them the love My Son showed you. Relax, just trust Me, and I’ll do the heavy lifting. Your job is to just love them, feed them and tell them about Me. And get busy learning my Word, the instructions are all there – and while you’re there, check out Matthew 25:35-40, that’s your springboard:
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'"
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
So she did. LOTS of grilled cheese sandwiches. And she dug deep into her study of Scripture and became more comfortable sharing the gospel – which she did with them every chance she got after that. This “porch mission” that started about seven years ago still continues to this day – and that neighbor became an online Liberty University student, still is.
If we apply these ideas and ideals to our personal view of what a “mission” is, could we possibly make more of an impact on a lost and fallen world? Could we be the catalyst (or cook) that is the embodiment of the Great Commission – right from our own front porch?
Ponder that if you’re so led, meanwhile, I have a pot of chicken stew and grilled cheese sammies to tend to, and a DB to finish, and a quiz to study for, and, well, let’s face it, that bibliography ain’t gonna write itself….
Nancy Nida is originally from Oklahoma and has lived on a small island off the coast of Belize since 2008 when God brought her to a new and unexpected chapter at the mid-century mark of her life. She opened and operated a restaurant there for five years until breast cancer sidelined her for a year. Stepping back during that time, she realized that God had something even more unexpected planned for her! She is currently an LU online student working towards degrees in Religion: Biblical and Theological Studies, and Political Science: Strategic Intelligence.