World Mission Sunday: A Call for All
As we approach World Mission Sunday—which takes place this year on October 23—I am reminded of an encounter I had during my Intake training. As part of our training for the mission field, we had been “treasure hunting.” This is where a group prays to be led to certain locations and people, then goes and seeks out those people to pray with.
But even outside of those structured moments, we had become more aware of those whom we encounter each day. I was striving to be attentive to promptings from God and to offer a word of encouragement or prayers.
One afternoon I had a few errands to run while in town. Between AutoZone and the gas station, I debated whether or not I should pick up a few wanted, but not completely necessary, items at Walmart. I decided in favor of this stop, quickly grabbed what I needed, and headed out of the store.
On my way to the door, the kind greeter—a tall, middle-aged man—wished me a good day, and I replied with what had become a natural “God bless you.” As I headed toward the exit, I heard him call out in a loud voice, “I hear ya! God bless you too!”
I turned around and spontaneously asked him if he needed prayers for anything today. He responded affirmatively and rattled off several needs he had, which included healing for his heart after his wife’s passing this summer and that God would provide for him financially.
He told me how he used to play guitar for his church’s praise band but now had to work on Sundays because of his financial situation. If he could receive compensation for his playing, he could return to participating in Sunday worship and take the day off from this job.
He told me his name was Wayne, and I asked if I could pray for him right then. He stretched out his hand, and I took it. As I began to utter the first words of my prayer, a young couple stopped in front of us. I asked if they wanted to join us in prayer. The thin young man sporting a backward-turned baseball cap grabbed Wayne’s other hand while the woman stood a few feet away. I continue praying for Wayne’s needs, and Wayne echoed my prayer with his own words.
I’m sure my prayer wasn’t the most eloquent one ever offered, but God has promised that where two or more gather in His name, He is with them—in spite of human inadequacy.
Wayne was effusive in his gratitude for the prayers, expressing that he really needed them that day. I learned that the young man and woman were named Andrew and Crimson and pledged to pray for them as well. We exchanged a few more words, then went our separate ways.
I share this story leading up to World Mission Sunday as a reminder: we are called to mission wherever we are. This type of activity isn’t reserved to those who by vocation are called “missionaries.”
You may not feel called to pray spontaneously with random strangers at the entrance of Walmart (though you shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss it as a possibility). But you are called to give witness in the ways which the Spirit prompts you in your daily life. It may be a word of encouragement to the woman in the checkout, a conversation with a coworker, an invitation to church to a family member who is struggling, or alms to a beggar on the corner regardless of what life choices have led him to that state.
Maybe this makes you uncomfortable. That’s okay. Jesus didn’t exactly promote a life of comfort. But when He calls you out of that safe zone, trust Him. You have no idea how He can use your yes to the Holy Spirit’s promptings. It may influence someone for the better. Don’t doubt that He can and will use you.
And don’t forget to pray for those who have dedicated their lives to the work of mission in the Church. We need one another. All of us, each doing our part in spiritual solidarity, can make a difference in the corner of the world in which we are called to love and serve.
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
– Acts 1:8