Motivations for Missions

By Brother Dan

Poor motivation - Me at the center!

         Guilt or pressure – powerful motivator, if a missions presentation can make someone feel guilty enough then they will do something.  Problem is it will never last and leads to resentment and bitterness.

         To be more acceptable to God or ourselves – the lie of works righteousness.  We imagine that somehow we are more acceptable to God because of missionary service.

         To prove our spirituality – the subtle falsehood that “the ultimate in Christian commitment is becoming a missionary”.  

Good, but not the best motivation - Man at the center!

         Duty as a Christian - We have a noble view of duty, but tend to be Marthas.  In middle of an unreached people group and asked why I am there, is my response “I am here because it is my duty, because it is my task, my job?”  That will never win people to Christ.  Yes, it is our duty as believers, but that is not our highest motivation for missions.

         To “help out” God – God is sometimes wrongly presented as a busy, frustrated, overworked cosmic manager desperately seeking help to carry out His plan of redemption.  Appeals like “heaven is counting on you … if you don’t go, how will they hear … their eternity depends on you” give the subtle impression that God is wringing His hands in heaven just hoping enough people will somehow get involved in world evangelization and fulfill His plans. 

         So “Christianity will win” – global struggle of major religions, we want our “team” to win.  We live in a competitive culture and are sometimes motivated to be involved in order to win.

         The lostness of men – a very real and noble motivation, born from a genuine compassion for fellow man.  The physically and spiritually poor require our involvement.  The need is and should be presented as staggering and overwhelming.  Every day thousands of people pass into eternity without saving faith.

         Reality of hell – a very real and appalling place.  Clear teaching in Scripture that it is eternal and terrifying.  Sobering and soul-searching.  A powerful and vital motivator, but not the highest.

Highest motivation for missions - God at the center! 

         The glory and greatness of God - Isaiah 26:8 “Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you.  Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.”  Renown: The quality of being widely honored and acclaimed” synonyms: prestige, fame, glory, honor, distinction, eminence, prominence.  The desire, longing, hunger, burden, passion, drive, zeal for missions is for the global renown of God. Roms 1:5

         The Lamb is worthy!  Jesus Christ is worthy of worship from every tribe, tongue, nation and people.  The worship being given to idols and false gods belongs to the Lord alone!  His worth requires our highest effort among the unreached.  The Moravians compelling vision “to win for the Lamb that was slain the reward for His suffering.”

         Missions is not God’s ultimate goal, worship is.  Missions exists because worship does not!  There will be no missions in heaven; missions is a temporary means to an end.

         Worship is both the fuel and the goal of missions.

o   Fuel – Passion for God in worship precedes the offer of God in missions.  Cannot commend what I do not cherish. Little enthusiasm for the Kingdom because there is little enthusiasm for the King.  When we are not stunned by the greatness of God there will be little zeal for missions.

o   Goal – to bring the nations into the white-hot enjoyment of God’s glory, the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God. Rev 7:9-11

         Not for the diminishing of missions, but for the magnifying of God.  When the flame of missions burns with heat of God’s true worth, the light of missions will shine to the most remote peoples of the earth. 

         Because we have tasted of the delights and pleasure of God, because we have reveled in His majesty and goodness, because the deepest longings our souls have been overwhelmingly satisfied, because we have drunk from the fullness of joy, because we have seen His worth, we are joyfully compelled to make Him known among every people on earth.