One night a long time ago a baby was born in Bethlehem. The angels celebrated, the shepherds wondered, Mary pondered, and the Magi worshiped. Jesus the eternal Son of God left His home in heaven and came to the lowly stable. He became a man and dwelt among us. His place was different, his reception was unfriendly and all around Him was strange and ungodly. He persevered and in the end was crucified, buried and resurrected to new life. Subsequently He would ascend back to His heavenly home.
Missionaries also leave their familiar homes and their friends and family for a foreign location. There, the local people are unfriendly and unsure what would motivate someone to come and live among them. Sometimes they would do anything possible to go to the country that the missionary came from. In fact, many missionaries in the past and a few modern ones have been persecuted and even killed by the unfriendly and antagonistic local populations. Even my own first wife lies buried in a cemetery in a foreign country.
Even as we celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, let us remember that he is not above asking us to follow His footsteps to a foreign culture for the sake of the gospel. The impact of the missionaries’ life in that foreign setting is often combined with great cost to them personally. One missionary I know cancelled their Facebook account so that they would not be tempted to be jealous of the nice things and events in their friends’ lives back home. The apostle Paul reminds us in Phil. 3:13 & 14 “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
This Christmas, as you remember the First Missionary, also remember and pray for the missionaries that you know.
Dave Rozelle, BMW