Are they adrenalin junkies? Masochists? Legalists trying to earn their way to heaven?
As you read Adventist Frontiers, do you ever find yourself wondering why our missionaries do what they do? What drives these people to sacrifice, endure, risk, dare and so many other extreme verbs?
I think the answer is summed up in 1 John chapter 4, specifically the phrase, “God is love,” which appears twice. It’s just three simple words, but look closer. When describing God, love isn’t a verb, it’s a noun—the very fabric of His being.
So, when God’s Spirit is living in your heart and directing your actions, love isn’t just something you do, it’s who you are. Missionaries don’t just do mission work any more than a husband and wife does marriage or a mother and father does parenting. Every verb missionaries do is based on eternal noun realities: “God doesn’t just love lost people, He is love. Therefore I will not simply do mission work. Rather, I will allow Him to transform me into the embodiment of His love for the lost.”
Only this noun kind of love has the credibility to convince lost people to open their hearts to the unknown God. So missionaries must become love. Apart from love, nothing they do brings any real reward, accomplishes any real goal or makes any real sense.