Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Representing Christ in the world

According to tradition Franciscus of Asisi would have said: Live the life at all times and if necessary preach it with words – or something like that. I have a problem with this, because it seems to implicate a choice between proclaiming the gospel in words and living a Christian life. I know that it sounds wonderful. And I know the story, which you also probably know, of a missionary who lived amongst a tribe where he was forbidden to speak about Jesus. He later died and was buried there. Many years later another group of missionaries arrived and started telling the tribe about Jesus and they then told the missionaries that they knew the man whom they were speaking about. In fact, he was buried close-by. They then took them to the grave of the missionary. What a wonderful testimony to this missionary’s life.
But my problem remains: Should we need to choose between speaking and living a Christian life? Does God not expect of us at all times to live a life which will reflect His glory into the world while always being prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15)? If this is the truth, then it becomes clear to me that God expects of us to represent Christ in the world, wherever we are and in whatever circumstances we are. Be it through our actions, through our message, through the way in which we conduct our lives or our business, in all things we should be representing Christ. But as far as I understand the Bible, it is never a choice between one or the other. It is always a question of what, in these circumstances, does God expect of us. Sometimes I do have to keep quiet. Jesus also kept quiet at times. But at all times He reflected the glory of God to the world in which He found Himself.
One reason I feel fairly strongly for a more balanced view on this, is because many people believe that they will inherit the Kingdom of God by living a good life. And certainly I believe that a good life is important to God, but ultimately we are not saved through a good life, but through the blood of Jesus Christ. And if we should only be living a good, Christian life, without also proclaiming the message of salvation, then we are strengthening the belief that all good people will be saved. And this is not the message of the Bible. Therefore, if we want to become missionaries, we will have to learn to represent Christ in all aspects of life, through our actions and through our words, so that people may come to know Christ as Lord.


Monday, June 25, 2007 - Posted by | Mission

1 Comment »

  1. […] through words or through our lifestyle? Almost two years ago I blogged about: Representing Christ in the world. This was mostly a critique on the supposed saying of Franciscus of Assisi who supposedly said: […]

    Pingback by Preaching through words or through our lifestyle? « Mission Issues | Monday, May 25, 2009 | Reply

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