Missio is not just for a few of us
When we think of missions, we tend to think in terms of a place and a time, the “10/40 window” for example. God does not think of it that way. He’s at it every day and everywhere because that is who he is. When we step out into our world, we are NOT going to a world where God is silent or inactive, or where He has left himself without witness. We do not live in a desert. We live in a garden where God is at work, where he is digging up the soil, and where He has already planted seeds of reconciliation with Himself. Think about it. Everywhere in Scripture, from the Garden of Eden on, we see God acting to fetch people back. It could be said that the whole Bible is the story of Man who hides and God who seeks.
When we think of missions, we also tend to think of a small, select group of followers of Jesus; the ones we call “missionaries”. But that’s not the totality of God’s missionary force. The entire Church is sent; more about that in the next chapter. But beyond that, the whole of Creation – the animate and the inanimate – is available to him as agents of his Missio.
I was World Team’s Director of Ministries for Haiti in 2010, the year of the Great Earthquake. In the aftermath of the quake, thousands turned to Christ. A Haitian pastor nailed this aspect of Missio when he said to me, “That earthquake was the greatest missionary God ever sent to Haiti.” Natural disasters, political upheavals, personal tragedies or triumphs, Jonah’s fish, his storm, his gourde plant his cutter-worm: each in turn serves as an envoy of God. And on top of it all, and at just the right moment, he sees to it that one of his disciples happens to be in the right place at the right time to frame and proclaim His message in human speech: “Be reconciled to God.”