One of the worst pandemics in recent history continues to ravage the planet, filling people with fear, loneliness, anxiety and hunger. In the midst of devastated economies, questions that outnumber answers, and emptied streets, buildings and churches, Christians are called to continue to shine the light of Christ in the midst of chaos.
Many companies across North America and in other parts of the world have told their employees to work from home. Schools have gone online. Most restaurants have closed, and others are taking orders for pick-up only. Life as we knew it has drastically changed. Only personnel considered mission-essential are allowed to commute to work.
Mission-essential . . . who is mission-essential? When I considered this question, my first thoughts went to those working in public and private healthcare. But, as I reflected further, I thought of the importance of so many others—the government and law-enforcement workers, food providers and those in agriculture, utility company personnel providing energy and water and removing waste, those providing communication, information, and financial services . . . the list goes on.
What about Christ’s gospel commission—who are the mission-essential Christians? There must be people whose presence and response to crisis from a Christ-centered perspective makes His presence seen and felt. At this moment, I know of missionaries around the world who are helping their communities by teaching natural remedies that are bringing great relief from sickness, by sharing a message of hope in the midst of fear and anxiety, by coaching how to plant vegetables that will provide sustenance, by sharing meals with those in need, and ultimately, by sharing Christ—the end of all suffering, pain and death and the beginning of new life that will ultimately be experienced when His kingdom is established.
Are missionaries mission-essential? Yes, now more than ever! May our hearts be continually filled with the fullness of Christ so that our lips may proclaim, our hands may give and our feet may go wherever God is calling us.