If I were to define missionary with a typical circular dictionary definition, I would use one sent on a mission. It seems to me that the Bible doesn't focus much on what we know of a missionary today. You know, someone who leaves there home to spread the Gospel to people who need it. Sure there are plenty of characters who fit that image, but I think the Bible focuses more on various "missions" on which Christians were sent. God called all kinds of people out of their normal routine to go on various missions, and then, they would return to their homes and routines. So is a missionary only a missionary when he or she is on a mission?
I think it's easy to get caught up in defining who a missionary is and what a missionary does. I fall into this. *guilty* I've been talking about being a missionary in training for about 5+ years now. What if I never go overseas? Did I miss my calling. Did I misunderstand my missionary call?
I felt this quote from The Missionary Call to be quite freeing and inspiring:
“As you examine your heart for evidence of a missionary call, look for a burden to fulfill the Great Commission and obey the Great Commandments that is guided by a Great Compassion.” (Sills, p.58)
So Josh and I have been doing this. We want to step away from the expectations of who a missionary is and what a missionary does. We want to examine our hearts to understand better the burden God has placed there. What are we compassionate about? What are the gifts He's given us? In what environments do we thrive?
We want these answers not just to prepare us for work overseas, but to guide us and our ministry for our entire lives. Right now we're in Minneapolis, not Africa. Our gifts weren't meant only for overseas ministry. What are they and how are we using them right now? I think that might have something to do with being one sent on a mission.