Mission work isn’t just something that is important to the church. It is vital to it. In fact, it is so vital that if no one had ever engaged in it, you would not be part of a church today. You would never have heard of Christ. You would be lost in your sins, and you would most definitely live in a much, much darker world than the one you live in today. Try to imagine a world in which there was no natural drive for forgiveness, no value for self-sacrifice, no devotion to the notion of an all powerful God that works good out of evil and trouble, and no examples set by Jesus. Imagine what our laws would look like, what our culture would look like, and what problems you’d have to face. If you find this task difficult, it is because you are completely immersed in a world that has been shaped through and through by a Christianity started by the first missionaries, and carried on by all others after them. On the other hand, if you find the task easy to imagine, it is because you understand just how dark the world is, and you are able to see that darkness precisely because the Christianity started and carried on by missionaries has contrasted it for you.
Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He did this through his death on the cross. He continues to do it through missionaries who take that news to a dark world, and proclaim it to people who may never have heard it. Think about how most of the New Testament comes from letters that Paul wrote to churches that he founded as a missionary! His instructions to them laid the foundation for how the church everywhere has been built throughout the ages.
It is clear that God wishes for each of us to be a missionary in the sense that we, too, take the message of Jesus to a dark world and proclaim it to people who don’t know it (Matthew 28:16-20). Of course, not everyone is called to go to a foriegn land. But everyone is called to be a missionary in their own land. There is also an expectation that all Christians will support missionaries abroad. Consider Paul’s praise of those Christians who shared in his troubles and sacrifices through their financial support (Philippians 4:14-20). Or consider his request of the Christians at Rome to help him on his missionary work (Romans 15:20-24). Paul understood that Christian’s financially helping their brothers and sisters elsewhere was of very great importance (2 Corinthians 11:8).
Missionary work is vital to the growth and maintenance of the church worldwide, and even in your own community. In what way are you doing mission work? In what way are you supporting those who are?