1. Whenever we ponder the subject of Missions, we would do well to constantly remember that it is not some justifying work that we are up to. It would be nonsensical to suppose that we earn or add to our salvation by going out and telling people about the grace of Jesus Christ. Those who think like this may do well to sit tight at home.
2. "I tell you the truth...no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age...." Mk 10:39-30.
3. From this proposition it is clear that missions is about Jesus and the good news. We merely go out because the gospel is so radically good and Jesus is so profoundly beautiful. I would argue that a true missionary is the happiest person alive. Missions without joy is not missions.
4. It is also clear that the purpose behind this work is neither political nor cultural nor economic...but theological.
5. It is written in Isaiah: "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news..." and therein lies the hammer against alot of current missiology. We are not going out to different places to get good news but to bring it. Missions is certainly not about fuzzy conversations with Muslims or Jews or Buddhists, it is not about stilling ourselves to hear the voice of God already speaking in the other, nor is it one big pat on the back of indigenous idolatry. The missionary comes to deliver something that has not yet been heard: news...good news. He is coming to proclaim that Christ is the Lord and the Savior of all men, and thus these particular men. And as for Belial: "What harmony is there between Christ and idols?" to paraphrase Paul. We are not looking for something but always bringing something.
6. Yet since missions is always about the gospel, it can never be a work apart from grace. God has given us the ministry of reconciliation in mercy (so Paul). The atrocities committed in the name of Jesus Christ throughout the ages does not nullify this point but establishes it. Mercy is only ever rendered to sinners. The Missionary is the sinner.
7. But since this ministry is indeed a work of mercy, we may certainly not lose heart. To quote from Boris of Goldeneye: "I am invincible!!!!" Yes indeed, and yet far more than invincible... a conquerer.
8. And again, since the gospel is a matter of free grace, we ought not to lose heart if we gain not a single convert. Henri Nouwen once said that "ministry is not based on success but on promises." And that alone is enough, for we are merely conveying to others what God has already done on their behalf.
9. And if there be opposition, we must remember that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Salt stings and light blinds. "If they hated me, they will hate you also."