By Joel Iyorwa
“Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry.” Romans 11:13 (RSV)
In my several years of being involved in mobilization, I have had the opportunity of interacting with hundreds of young people. The general perception found among this emerging generation of believers is that missions is some kind of third-rate or low-grade career path.
Message bearers are associated in many places, by many people, with drop-outs, those who couldn’t make good grades in college, or those who couldn’t get a place on the so-called professional courses in university.
In fact, some even dare to say it is the sort of ministry path we assign to those who are not all that important to the life of the local church.
The vibrant, strong and mature guys stay at home and serve on the Church leadership team and help the pastor, while those who are ‘disposable’ can be released for missions.
Recently, I was surprised when a godly woman I know, called my attention to the ‘misbehaviour’ of her son, whom she claimed has decided to ‘waste his life and education’ by becoming a message bearer(missionary) instead of getting a job in the city.
I also personally had a “concerned woman” as she called herself, ask me “don’t you think you’re wasting your life?”
To be fully involved in missions, rather than taking up a corporate job and earning a fat salary is considered “a waste.” Not every one might call it a waste, but most think it is not high on the list of great things to do with one’s life.
There are countless number of cases like this that we all have come across that have skewed the balances of nobility and worthiness in disfavor of missions and message bearer service.
When we reflect deeply on why missions continues to rank so low on the career options for many people, we cannot help but notice the extent to which we have bent to worldly standards of successful living. We have done the exact thing scripture warns us not to do: “be not conformed to the patterns of this world” (Rom 12:2).
But God sees things differently. While the world defines success and greatness by tangible, physical things, God
defines it by spiritual and eternal values. In God’s order, which supersedes our human ideas, only things that have value beyond this world are truly important.
True success and greatness in God’s eyes therefore is one’s relative progression in those things with value in eternity, beyond time.
Unless we begin to see as God sees, we will always make the terrible mistake of buying into the world’s idea that life is wasted when it is spent pursuing the glory of God among the nations and successful when it is spent pursuing personal comfort and economic power.
The only man who ever stooped low to be a message bearer was Jesus. He stooped low so that everyone else can step-up and step higher into co-laboring with Him for the glory and praise of God in the earth.
Jesus left the glory of heaven, and of being God, to become flesh and dwell among us to bring us the hope of salvation and reconciliation with the Father.
To join Jesus in this labor is not to stoop low. It is to step into honor and into a higher value system, too high for the standards of this world.
The American dream pales in comparison to God’s dream of all nations becoming blessed as they worship Him. Like Mary, each time the alabaster jar of a young life is “broken and poured out” to the Lord in sacrificial cross-cultural labor, it is considered a ‘waste’ and thought of as foolishness by the world.
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians we find the anecdote to this sad trend. Paul spoke about ‘magnifying his office’ or his ministry.
He was called to go and serve the Gentiles at a time when it was hugely unpopular and even dangerous to do so. The secret to Paul’s unwavering consistency and faithfulness in that calling was that he was always ‘magnifying’ it.
What did Paul mean when he said “I magnify my ministry” and how can we do the same today? The word Paul uses here is the Greek word ‘megaluno’ meaning “to make large”, “to grow” or “make greater.” It is the verb form of the word ‘mega’ – big, large, great.
This is the idea when we say things like megapixel or megachurch. The real idea of ‘megaluno’ is in English as someone has said, to “megatize”, i.e., making something big.
Magnifying missions does not mean having an inaccurate, exaggerated, falsified and unrealistic perception about our work not like a magnifying glass or microscope but to make clearer, to bring closer so as to see better, to see it as big as it truly is like a telescope or binoculars.
God must take away our myopic vision and perception about missions and give us a telescopic vision.