The Missionary Body: A Parable

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Meet Missionary Paul. Each day, he seeks to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 18:19-20) to share Christ with others. Some days he has felt very successful when the ministry is progressing despite expected difficulties. On other days, he has felt like a complete failure, pulled in different directions and not accomplishing anything.

After months of experiencing this exhausting roller coaster, Missionary Paul analyzed the situation, thinking through each day and comparing actions and outcomes. A pattern emerged.

On good days, every part of his body worked in unison: the arms and legs followed the Head’s lead, and the heart and lungs provided needed nutrients and oxygen to fuel the movement of his limbs and provide breath for his mouth to speak the truth.
On bad days, every part of his body insisted on operating independently, doing its own thing. The Head would give directions, but the right arm wanted to go left while the left wanted to go up. The legs stubbornly would go right (at least they agreed on that). The lungs insisted on beating like the heart, and the heart insisted it could run better than the legs (albeit to the left).

Poor Missionary Paul! How could he ever accomplish the Head’s instructions if the individual body parts refused to cooperate and do their appointed work? He decided to talk with the Head about the body’s life-threatening problem. The Head then called a general meeting for all body parts.

Softly and tenderly, yet firmly, the Head spoke: “I appeal to you . . . brothers [and sisters], by the mercies of God, to present your[selves] as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1). As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’
God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be (1 Corinthians 12:12, 18-20)? Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and courteousness (1 Peter 3:8).” 

The Head’s message was clear and direct. Would the many members listen, take up their individual duties and unite as one body? Would Missionary Paul finally be able to fulfill the Great Commission? Only time would tell.

See the back cover of this issue for examples of how mission body parts work in unity.

Recently, AFM sent out a booklet sharing the story of Nico. The back of the booklet contains a link to learn more about how the AFM mission body works together to fulfill our Savior’s Great Commission. If you did not receive the booklet, I would love to send you one. Give me a call (1-800-937-4236). 

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