I WANT TO QUIT BEING A MISSIONARY

April 17, 2017
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Good morning friends and family,

Being a missionary is hard… and I often want to quit.

Let me be clear, this is not an email bemoaning my situation. I am well-aware of the struggles, loneliness, and trauma that other missionaries face — some on a daily basis.

But regardless of the location or the responsibilities God has called a missionary to, I think there is a reason missionaries want to quit, actually quit, or just not get involved in the first place.

Before I get into the one reason missionaries quit, I want to define what a missionary is…


There are two sides to the missionary coin: Sending & Going


A missionary is simply someone who has been given a mission — a calling, purpose, or assignment — from God. Therefore, regardless of our occupation or life-stage, all Christians are missionaries. Our mission is to be our Heavenly Father’s ambassador — revealing and inviting people into the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus defined this mission when he said, “Go and make disciples of me.” We are all called to be disciple-makers. That is our mission. Therefore, we (all of us) are missionaries.

There are two sides of the missionary coin: sending and going.
Going is the action step of the mission. It is the practical working out of disciple-making. Sending is the ability to resource the going. Whether financially or provisionally, sending is the investor of disciple-making.

We are all designed to be missionaries. Therefore, we are all meant to both go and send. These responsibilities are not separate. I am not a goer and you are not a sender. As missionaries we are to be both goers and senders.

In using this definition I have had people say, “Yeah, but I’m not a faith-missionary like you.” As if they do not need to live by faith. I think I understand what they are saying… kinda. I think it means that they have a job and therefore do not need to rely on faith for their finances and provision.

It is this mindset (“I’m not a faith-missionary”) that is actually the root of why missionaries (all of us) quit… or want to quit… or don’t get involved at all. And the one reason we are all tempted to quit or not get involved is…


We are all designed to be missionaries.


FEAR.

We are all afraid of something when it comes to going and sending.

GOING FEARS
In carrying out the mission of disciple-making there are some common fears (or temptations/questions) that I think we all face. Whether you are called to war-torn Iraq, foster-parenting, or talking to your next door neighbor, these are some questions or statements that I’ve heard people say (and I’ve said):

  • Will I be received/accepted?
  • I don’t know where I will live.
  • What if I am rejected?
  • That person doesn’t care about Jesus.
  • With what I’ve done, I don’t think I would be good for that.
  • Is this person really that important?
  • Is this place really that important?
  • Is what I am doing really important?
  • I don’t know how to do that.
  • What if I don’t fit in?
  • I don’t feel equipped to do that.
  • What if I’m suppose to go somewhere I don’t want to?
  • I don’t know that Bible well enough.
  • What if this isn’t God’s will?
  • It just seems hard.
  • Now’s not a good time.
  • How would I make money?
  • What would I do?
  • What about my family?
  • I have a really good job right now.
  • We just bought a house.

While this list isn’t exhaustive, I think it is a good example of the fears and temptations we all face. And many of them are logical or are based in wisdom.

I had a friend once tell me that he knew for a fact that God had called him to Africa. But he had just bought a house and was working on some investments so that he could be financially secure on the mission field. Unfortunately, that security never panned out. He never became a missionary to Africa. Instead, he became so successful in his investments that he left his family, his friends, and his church.


…I don’t believe faith is the opposite of fear. I don’t believe simply telling someone to “trust God” will fill them with the courage and confidence it takes to go and send.


SENDING FEARS
There are also some common temptations or questions that we all face in financially supporting the mission of disciple-making. These are some questions and statements that I’ve heard people say (and struggled with myself):
I don’t trust that organization.

  • What if they don’t spend it wisely?
  • I don’t agree with their doctrinal statement.
  • I don’t have enough money.
  • What if I give and then I need the money?
  • Now’s not a good time.
  • If I can’t pay my bills, how could I pay theirs?
  • They take too much of a %.
  • There’s too many organizations to choose from.
  • I can’t fully support their doctrine.
  • I don’t agree with their methods.
  • I can’t this month. But I will later.
  • I’ve already budgeted my giving for the year.

We think of faith as the opposite of fear. We believe that if we trust God then we won’t have fear. So I could end the email here by telling you to simply have faith and be blessed and go make disciples.

But I can’t. Because I don’t believe faith is the opposite of fear. I don’t believe simply telling someone to “trust God” will fill them with the courage and confidence it takes to go and send.

I believe love is the opposite of fear.


It’s beyond believing God loves you. It’s experiencing His love first-hand that transforms our fears into opportunities.


First John tells us that, “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”

While the context is talking about the day of judgement, experiencing God’s love changes our perspective of Him. Rather than simply having faith in God, our experience of Him gives us the confidence that no matter what He calls us to, it is motivated out of His love for us and others.

Our faith, by definition, requires risk — the potential for fear. But with this potential for fear, God has empowered us with His Spirit to overcome this fear. In Second Timothy, Paul tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

I don’t believe that our fear of sending and going is based in logical arguments, practical issues, or having less-than. I believe our fear of sending and going is based upon our view of the Heavenly Father, His character, and His provision.

The issue isn’t whether or not God loves us. For years I made sure to say and do the right thing so that God would love me. I made sure to make good decisions or feel really bad about my sins, misquoting verses like “I am a worm”. That way He knows how bad and how worthless I am. Hopefully, if I feel bad enough, perhaps He will take pity on me and extend mercy.

This is not the Gospel.


I believe our fear of sending and going is based upon our view of the Heavenly Father, His character, and His provision.


The issue is that we are unwilling to acknowledge and receive God’s love for us.

We have worth. We are valuable. In fact, our worth and value to God is so great that it was worth the life of His Son. Paul believed God’s love is so empowering and so overwhelming that to truly experience it, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

It’s beyond believing God loves you. It’s experiencing His love first-hand that transforms our fears into opportunities.

Who is God asking you to send?

Who is God sending you to?

 
 
God bless,


NATHANAEL P. STEEL

P.S. I would love to hear back from you. If you have any comments from this week’s email or prayer requests you would like to share with us, our email is: hello@nathanlaceysteel.com. I look forward to hearing from you.


 
 


OUR PRAISE & PRAYER REPORT

NATHAN IS BEING HOSPITALIZED
Last week I had my quarterly appointment. I was down about 10% in my lung function. Therefore, our family will be leaving to Minneapolis that I can be admitted to the hospital. Please pray for my girls and Lacey, that they would have peace amidst me being in the hospital. As we are preparing to move to Texas, please pray for a quick recovery of lung function and blood glucose levels. Also, pray for wisdom for the doctors to figure out what has been spiking my blood glucose numbers.

BETHEL, ALASKA
Today, my friend Eric and I leave for Bethel, Alaska to teach at a pastors’ and ministry leaders’ conference. We will be training and equipping village leaders how to live free, joy-filled lives. Please pray for wisdom, clarity, and open hearts as we teach on identity, forgiveness, and conflict resolution.

  • Trip Cost: $1000 // Received: $0 // Needed: $1000

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CURRENT PROJECTS
Below are the following projects that we currently need finances for. We will update the amount as funds come in.

  • “Peru”
    Trip Cost: $5000 // Received: $1800 // Needed: $3200

    May 26-June 3 – Lacey and I are teaching at a Marriage Conference in Iquitos, Peru.

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BIBLE READING


+ DAY 107: MONDAY, APRIL 17

+ DAY 108: TUESDAY, APRIL 18

+ DAY 109: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19

+ DAY 110: THURSDAY, APRIL 20

+ DAY 111: FRIDAY, APRIL 21

+ DAY 112: SATURDAY, APRIL 22

+ DAY 113: SUNDAY, APRIL 23

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