There Can Be No Excuses

By Savannah Swanner | Sep 21, 2012

Mission work in many churches and in many people’s minds is often a glorified work.  It is easy to think, “Oh, he is so amazing…he’s going all the way over there to help those poor people.”  Or sometimes maybe we think, “Her faith must be so strong to have the courage to go there.”  At least, that is what I thought of missionaries and mission work before I came to Africa.  But in all actuality, missionaries are no different than any other type of Christ follower.  They are just walking with Jesus in a completely different part of the world, but at the root of everything they are simply people.  They are humans designed by a loving God who are called to make disciples.  Missionaries experience some of the same struggles as those who live comfortably in their homes.  They, at times, hesitate to tell those around them about Jesus.  They want people to like them, even to love them.  They pray for a deeper, stronger faith.  They need a deeper, stronger faith.  In their hearts, they want to see miracles right before their own eyes.  They want their families to stay safe.  They want to see God, love God, and walk with God.  But it is hard.  Being a missionary is not the answer to obtaining or maintaining some type of miraculous faith that can withstand all types of problems.  No.  The only way to receive miraculous faith is to ask God to give it to you.  We are all humans.  We are all searching for the same thing, fulfillment.  As Christians we know that the only way to be completely fulfilled, the only way one will ever stop searching for fulfillment, is to acknowledge we need a Savior and that Savior happens to be Jesus Christ.  Missionary or not, homemaker or CIA agent, it is all the same.  We need Jesus.  We need a Savior who says stop trying so hard and simply have faith.  We are all the same.  Becoming a missionary does not get you a higher status in Heaven.  In reality, we are all missionaries.  Jesus said, “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” (Matthew 28:19).  This is what we think of “missionaries” doing.  They are going to “all nations” to make disciples.  That does not exclude the United States.  We as followers of Christ need to stop making excuses and realize we are missionaries.  There are millions of people in the States that need to know Jesus.  Recently, my eyes have been opened to some of the darkest sins and hurt.  People are living in pain because they act like they know Jesus, they talk the talk, praising Him in church, but their lives show no acknowledgement of this amazing Savior they praise.  Instead, their lives are full of adultery, lying, killing, and degrading behaviors.  Everything inside me wants to tell them that there is a better way, a path of forgiveness.  In my head, even out loud, I am screaming stop.  My heart aches and bursts for these people because they obviously do not understand what Christ has done for them.  If they did understand, then they would put aside their pride, they would admit they were wrong, and then they would ask for forgiveness from the only One who can give it to them.  I want to tell them.  I want to call them out.  I want to say, “If you are a follower of Christ, then your life should look different!”  But I cannot do any of that.  I cannot speak their language.  I speak English, not Swahili.  These types of conversations take a wealth of language skills that I simply do not possess.  Sure, I can get a translator, but it is not the same.  A translator cannot express the angst my heart feels for the person.  A translator cannot really make them feel the love God has for them.  So instead, I pray.  I pray for God to speak to them.  I pray for their pride to be tossed to the wind.  I pray that they will abandon everything and simply walk in faith.  But more importantly, I pray that when I come home I will remember this feeling.  The feeling of knowing that I have the answer but because of a language barrier I could not tell others.  Remembering this feeling is important to me, because it takes away all excuses when I come back home.  At home, there is no language barrier to prevent me from telling others to rely on Jesus.  There is no language barrier to prevent me from calling other Christians out on the sins in their life.  There is no language barrier to stop me.  We are all missionaries, whether it is in Africa or America.  We must tell others to turn to Jesus, to love him, to ask him, to seek him.  We must!  There can be no excuses…this is what I am learning.