I am covering World Geography in homeschool with my daughter this year. We recently finished studying Africa, and as supplemental reading, I read David Livingstone: Africa's Trailblazer, by Janet and Geoff Benge (from YWAM’s Christian Heroes: Then & Now series) to her. In chapter four, David is filling out his application to the London Missionary Society, and answers the question, “What do you see as the most important work of a missionary?” with the following:
“The missionary’s object is to endeavor by every means in his power to make known the gospel by preaching, exhortation, conversation, instruction of the young; improving, so far as is in his power, the temporal condition of those among whom he labors, by introducing the arts and sciences to civilization, and doing everything to commend Christianity to their hearts and consciences.” (pp. 37-38)
I read that two times to allow it to sink in. I think it is a beautiful definition of what a missionary is and does. It reminded me of Mark 16:15 which says, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (NASB) I was particularly drawn to Mr. Livingstone’s inclusion of conversation and instruction of the young in his definition. This applies directly to my current season in life. I am instructing my children on a daily basis, and have many conversations with different people every day. This served as a reminder of my purpose as a mother (raising mighty arrows for the kingdom), as well as to make sure my speech is edifying and encouraging in every conversation.
Sometimes as a mom, when I’m cleaning sticky juice off the floors and am knee deep in laundry, I wonder if all of my work really counts. I do not have a ministry like Billy Graham and am not living in a foreign land sharing the gospel or doing translation work on a daily basis. This little passage reminded me that it does matter. I have not been called to a foreign ministry, but I am still called to be a missionary among my family and friends, and in my community. I am called to live my life as unto the Lord and share His love for others whenever I can.
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17, NASB)