When you think of a great missionary story in the Bible, don’t you think about that time that God sent a man into unbelieving territory, and after he preached there was a great turning to God? Yes, when we think of great missionary moments, we think of . . . Jonah. Jonah? No, that is not the one that typically comes to mind. However, Jesus spoke of the repentance that took place in Nineveh after Jonah’s preaching (Luke 11:32). Jonah? Really? Jonah was disobedient toward God, showed hatred toward the Ninevites, and was generally occupied with his personal comfort.
There is much in this tiny book that shows Jonah didn’t understand God’s heart for the nations. Do you understand God’s heart for the nations? Jonah had to learn . . . the hard way . . . that God’s glory is more important than our goals and personal well being. It really is God-focused, not me-focused. As part of God’s global mission, he uses his followers to make his name known to the nations. That means the followers of God will leave their comfort zones and do whatever it takes to fulfill God’s mission around the world.
In Acts 19:29 we meet a man named Aristarchus. He was part of Paul’s missionary team. Aristarchus is an incredible example of a man who understood that it wasn’t all about him. In Acts 19, the missionary team was in Ephesus where there was a religion to the goddess Diana and men who made their living making silver statues of this false god.
When Paul and the missionary team arrived, they had such an influence on the city that the men who made the idols thought they were going to lose the source of their income, so they started a riot. Aristarchus was right in the middle of this life-threatening event with Paul.
Later, when Paul was arrested in Jerusalem, Aristarchus was with him. When Paul got on a ship to go to Rome for his appeal/trial, Aristarchus was on that ship (Acts 27:2). That ship wrecked, and they spent three days floating in the Mediterranean! Toward the end of Paul’s ministry, he was in prison in Rome and who was with him there? You got it! Aristarchus (Colossians 4). What a great example of a man sold out for God’s mission.
If you’re sold out for God’s mission like Artistarchus, your actions, your choices, your speech, your time and your finances should show that your life is all about telling others who Jesus is and why he died for sinners. If you don’t know the good news of the gospel, here it is in a nutshell: He died so you could live by bearing the burden of sin on the cross FOR YOU and giving you the free gift of eternal life. Surrendering your life to Jesus will be the best decision of your life. He doesn’t promise a perfect life but he does promise a full and complete life with a heavenly father that guides you with his Spirit.
Seek him today . . .