This post is the 2nd entry in a 10 part series on Why I think Pastors should be Personally Involved in International Missions. It’s written specifically to Pastors but the principles apply to all leaders in the church. The uninitiated should begin here.
Reason #2: Because It Is A Fountain For Your Own Joy
In Matthew 13, Jesus gives us what we call “The Kingdom of Heaven Parables”— Seven illustrative stories in a row about His Kingdom. Two short parables towards the end may just be one of my favorite things in the bible: The Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Pastor, these are stories that you’re quite familiar with and probably love as well, but they are also stories that we can preach faithfully without ever really internalizing. Jesus says that being a part of His Kingdom is worthy of giving up some other significant things. In both stories, the man saw the value of the prize in front of him and went and sold everything he had so he could have it.
He sold everything.
Jesus doesn’t specify what “everything” means but I highly doubt it’s just his pile of Goodwill items. This guy may now be homeless. In the first story, the man sells everything but now he has a valuable piece of land and a treasure chest. I think we all have stories (or at least know stories) of making a sacrifice for God’s Kingdom and then getting our investment back with interest. God sometimes blesses in that way.
But that’s not the way the second story plays out. In the second story, the guy sells everything he has to buy a single pearl. And so now— It’s just a homeless guy holding a pearl. How do you think that conversation went with his wife? “Hey honey, I know we’re homeless now and don’t have any clothes to wear or food to eat— But look! A pearl!” How do you think his former neighbors talked about his decision? Everyone who knows this man thinks he’s a fool. And he is a fool unless…
Unless he knows something that no one else knows.
Unless the pearl really is more valuable than everything he gave up to attain it. Jesus says that His Kingdom is like a fine pearl. We are either pleased to buy it or we don’t know what it is that we’re looking at.
Is it possible that our God is big enough and good enough to set up His world in such a way that joining up with Him and what He is doing actually produces joy? Is it possible that He’s big enough and good enough that joining up with Him and what He’s doing gives more joy than all the other options on the table?
Pastor, a major reason why you need to be personally involved with international missions is because you have been created to walk in a level of joy that you’re missing out on otherwise. And I know the rebuttal: “playing a part in God’s Kingdom does not always mean getting on an airplane”. You’re absolutely right. But I have also never met a pastor that was given an opportunity to pour into what God is doing in other places that was not greatly encouraged themselves along the way. The deeper we jump into what God is doing the more joy we find.
Go drink deeply from the fountain.