My Missions Field

Last fall, I was invited to take part in a Missions Board meeting held by one of my clients, who has become more like family than a client to me. Knowing their company puts its corporate profits toward missions work around the world, I recognized the enormity of this effort. When I saw the list of other board members in attendance, Satan told me I was “out of my league.”

“What business does a semi-retired rancher on a fixed income have sitting in a boardroom with powerful ministry leaders and world-renowned missionaries from around the globe?” My dear friend the CEO assured me I could add value to the meeting; and even if I didn’t understand my purpose in being there, God did. Like some of you perhaps, I let fear take hold of my introverted self, and every time I tried politely backing out, she overcame the objection. It ended up being a wonderful meeting. Attending certainly blessed me, and I hoped I had added some value.

During the event, I learned about The Joseph’s School in Jaipur, India. Here, “rag picker” children are fed a warm meal, given an opportunity for an education, medical care, and taught God’s word. I learned how something as simple as clean drinking water can prevent illness, blindness, and transform a village in central Africa. With a report from a missionary in the DRC, I learned of the horrific treatment of women because of sharia laws being imposed against Christians. And yes, I learned of the plight and ongoing captivity of a young Nigerian girl who refuses to denounce her Christian faith (#FreeLeah).

With each report, I saw the impact for God’s kingdom that was being made by the love offerings given by this very successful American business. My heart overflowed with joy to see all the lives being impacted by God’s love. In the days that followed our meeting, Satan once again tried his best to plant doubt about myself in my mind. He tried to make me feel inferior.

I didn’t travel around the world digging wells, caring for the sick or destitute, or feeding the hungry children suffering from famine and overcrowding. I’ve learned that when Satan attacks, it’s an indicator of two things. One, you are doing something right. Two, it’s time to pray for reinforcements.

In my prayers, God came alongside and reminded me of His plan for me. My job isn’t to emulate my Christian brothers like Lee Cantelon, John Bongiorno, and others. I don’t risk my life to carry the gospel throughout the world. My job is to help them achieve God’s plan for their lives. By helping his company secure new business, I help ensure the funding stream needed to support these philanthropic missions. It reminded me of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12. We are one body, with many members; each with a specific role within the body of Christ.

Thinking on this, I realized that my missions field was just outside the door of my home in tiny Cooper, Texas. The wheat and hay I grow, the cattle I raise, the proposals I consult with clients to write; these things contribute to my missions calling. My wife Diane and I don’t control the local food bank; we contribute to it as often as we can. We don’t determine how the women’s shelters her You Matter Card Ministry supports raises funds or teaches life skills. Instead, my wife’s handmade greeting cards share her love for each recipient; giving them acknowledgement, inspiration, and encouragement. By using the spiritual gifts and talents God has given us, we each can contribute to His master plan. My missions field is the community I live in and the world my meager talents help support. So take that Satan!

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In 1 Corinthians 7:17-24, the Apostle Paul suggests we “bloom where planted” in the way he instructed the church at Corinth to “Live as You are Called.” If God saw fit for you to be a slave, then be a slave, but know your freedom is in Christ. Wherever God places us in this life, we are to work for His glory and not our own. We should strive to be the best servants of God we can be and everything else will take care of itself as God sees fit.

Being a servant of God doesn’t mean going to a mission field abroad, but seeing the mission field around you and noticing the needs of others. The Bible says, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18, NKJV).

God’s blessings,

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50 thoughts on “My Missions Field

  1. I believe God gives each of us different and unique ministry opportunities. Some of us are called to go outside of this country while some of us are called to be on the front lines of the local global field. I am thankful for ways to help others. Yes, look for the mission field around you. God has gifted each of us with ways to show His love. 🙂

  2. What a wonderful opportunity for you! Congratulations, and I’m glad you listened to your friend rather than the Evil One.

    I think our mission field is right where God plants us. We can be missional in our work, our play, our socialization, our church. God will lead us if we open our eyes, ears, and heart to Him dedicating ourselves to emulate Jesus. Blessings!

    1. You could not have captured the lesson I learned any better than that Ms. Candyce. Thank you ma’am. The key is, I believe, our willingness to go where God leads us. That willingness comes from learning to trust and surrender to Him. Well said ma’am. 😀

  3. And don’t forget, J.D., as Alton Gansky often says, “Your work may never show up on the shelves of Lifeway. It may never be published at all. God may intend for it only to minister to the man sitting next to you. If you can be okay with that, then you’re ready to write for God.” Your mission field through your writing has already extended beyond the man sitting next to you, so carry on!

    1. Well said Ms. Lori and Mr. Alton. I’ve come to realize my goal as a Christian writer is not to see my name on the cover of a book at Barnes & Noble (although I’d lie if I didn’t hope that it be God’s will one day). More, I ask God each day to refill my “ink well” and empty me out in His service. Whether a Bible study, devotional, article, or blog post, my goal these days is to simply help move God’s kingdom forward in whatever service He asks of me. I suspect you’re the same way ma’am. “Lord, refill me and pour me out as many times as you see fit. When you’re done, please let me come home with you.”

  4. Amen, J.D. Our mission field is often right outside our door. Maybe the Lord won’t call us to go across the ocean (maybe He will, I went to Africa once). But He is calling us to walk across the hall at work to build a relationship with a co-worker or pray for the. He is calling us to walk across the street and minister to our neighbor in small and big ways, to do daily life with them so they see Jesus in us. He’s calling us to our Jerusalem…right where we are right now to be Jesus with skin to everyone we come in contact with.

    1. It sure it Ms. Karen. I think opportunity is everywhere; and God puts it there purposely for us, we just have to look for it and seize the opportunities He provides. God’s blessings sweet friend.

  5. I love this because it highlights how we can get trapped in our own minds and let those thoughts influence our Kingdom opportunities! Kudos to you for contributing to the meeting and realizing the value of your contribution. We could all use a little more of this!

    1. We sure can Ms. Kelly. I look back upon my life and I see so many times when Satan was telling me “I couldn’t”, “I’m not good enough, or smart enough, or talented enough.” I also look back and praise Him for the many times I could feel God come along beside me and say “Take my hand; we’ll go through this together. I’ve got you child.” Oh how I’ve come to cherish those moments in my life. Thank you for your kindness and encouragement “Finisher!” You are something, and someone, special indeed.

  6. A semi-retired rancher who’s on fire for God, and supporting His ministries in quiet, but powerful ways, has every reason to sit wherever God leads. 🙂 I love how God places His people in the perfect places at just the right time. And I love Diane’s ministry of creating cards for the women’s shelter. Our words – written and spoken – can offer life to those hurting most. Blessings on you both, dear friend!

    1. Were that I would be able to live up to these wonderful words ma’am. I pray daily God continue working in my life and molding me to become the man He wants me to be. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. Ms. Diane and I are so very grateful for, and blessed by, your friendship. God’s blessings to you, Mr. Brian, and your entire family ma’am.

  7. You’ve shared an important message. I support God’s mission by being available. I’ve been on two mission trips to Malawi, Africa–something I never thought I would do without my husband along. I also share the love of Christ through a Bible study I facilitate and with women in need of prayer and encouragement. I hope I’m a light to others as well.

      1. I sure hope God keeps me around long enough to read of your missions adventures my friend. What a life of blessing others you’ve lived. Thank you for your willingness to go where God leads you.

    1. Ms. Debbie; your and Mr. Donnie’s friendship remains among the greatest blessings in our lives ma’am. We too are so honored to be a part of this “Family of Faith.” God’s blessings dear friends.

  8. Missions: my heart! Africa, yes! I have handed out a single slice of white bread to children who stand in long lines for such a treat. I’ve seen little ones quickly hide it inside their shirt or skirt, so bigger ones can’t get it and sneakily pinch off pieces to thrust into their mouths. Water, dirtier than i would throw in my garden is used to wash dishes, clothes, bodies; bathroom facilities, a hole in the ground, covered with flies. The kids eat mice and grasshoppers and nsima (like maize polenta without salt) which swells their bellies but doesn’t give nutrition. They gnaw on dug cassava root which contains arsenic (unless cooked) but they won’t stop because it fills their stomach.
    Oh, do what you can for missions, go, give, pray!
    (Sorry for the outburst, but my heart is there.)

    1. Your heart surely is in service others in missions, both here and abroad, Ms. Jackie. I love reading of your various exploits, lessons, and projects you and Mr. Lynn do in God’s name. Thank you for having a servant’s heart my friends. God’s blessings.

    1. Me too Ms. Patty. Being there was such a blessing for me. In your words, I couldn’t help but stop and praise God for the example you and your dear husband is living before us in the way you love and care for “Baby J.” My wife and I are moved by your selflessness and dedication ma’am. God’s blessings.

  9. Good challenge as always JD. We are to be His hands and feet! I pray my hands are clean and my foot prints are lost inside of His.

  10. I think we sometimes forget that our mission field is right in our backyard. Thank you for this reminder. I’m still hoping to bloom where I’m planted! Wishing you many blessings as you and Diane continue your mission.

    1. We sure can Ms. Katherine. We get so wrapped up in wanting to become the next Sheila Walsh or Max Lucado, that we sometimes forget that God called to write for His glory, not ours. You and I share in the hope that God helps us sink our roots deep right where He wants us. As you well know my “farming friend”, the deeper our roots go, the better we are able to withstand the storms and life’s “drought moments” when it seems all around us is becoming a dustbowl. Our refreshment, our nourishment comes from having His word rooted deep in our spirits. Praying I somehow help fertilize and nurture your soul as much as your words does mine ma’am.

  11. Thanks for the encouragement JD.
    At this point in my life I need to grow in my expectations of God doing the impossible in my life.
    May His grace turn my weakness into strength.- multiply my 5 loaves to feed a multitude.

    1. Wonderful thoughts Mr. Geoff. I think this is something we can all pray for; that God helps us become good stewards of His manifold grace. Well said sir. God’s blessings my Aussie friend.

  12. J.D., your post gives great encouragement to every follower of Christ. We are each called, whether on foreign soil or on the front lines at the dinner table with our children and grandchildren.
    A couple of days ago my high school senior grandson’s friend asked me to pray for his car that wouldn’t start. He said, “Granny, will you please pray for my car?” The friends of my grandchildren call me Granny. They are part of my mission field and they know I care and that I pray for them. Some have even told me they like the prayers for children that I post each day on social media.
    We usually don’t need to look far to find our mission field. Thanks for articulating that so well.

    1. Sorry; I don’t think of you as “granny” my friend; we’re too close in age for that. I love that mental image though. A dear senior member of a family that is trusted, valued, and can be depended upon. Yep, that explains you pretty well I think. Always enjoy your daily prayer posts for your children and grandchildren. Have never met them, yet, but am betting they treasure you every bit as we do my friend. God’s blessings.

  13. Thank you JD for another practical post pointing to God’s truth. If two of us were identical, one of us would be unnecessary. God has His specific plans and purposes for each of us. and one day at a time, may I put my feet in His footprints. One may have a greater magnitude in size and reaching more people than what we think of as our small contribution, but it is significant in God’s economy. A single greeting with a smile to a cashier having a rough day, may impact the rest of her day.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Marilyn. We never know when or where God may choose to use us; nor will know how He might choose to use it. Our job is to be ready, wherever, whenever, however. Such an important message here my friend. God’s blessings. And I am sure glad God made you the unique, special, gifted, little lady you are. What a blessing your friendship is in my life ma’am. The thought of you brings a bespectacled smile. 🙂

  14. Thank you, J. D., for reminding us that our ministry is uniquely designed by God. He calls us and equips us for the role we have in Kingdom work. Attempting to parrot someone else’s is futile and dangerous.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Jeannie. If God had wanted me to be Max Lucado or Beth Moore, He would have made me to be them. Instead, He made each of us to be the fearfully and wonderfully made selves that He fashioned us to be in our mother’s wombs. Not to be a copy or facsimile, but to be the unique person with unique talents and gifts to achieve His unique purpose for our lives. OMGoodness my friend; “That’ll preach right there!” 🙂 God’s blessings Ms. Jeannie; and thank you as always for your inspiring guidance ma’am.

  15. I would have had the same feelings about joining in that group! I am glad that you did you participate. You never know who you may have inspired. As you describe, we all have different ways to contribute. I’ve met people who seem to feel that missionaries are “better” Christians than them. In my opinion, being a missionary is not for everyone.

    1. You are exactly right Ms. Robin; we might not know what God’s purpose is for presenting us with opportunities to inspire or bless others. One example is your and your husband’s artwork. I wonder how many people will be blessed by your works on display in our home, or on your Instagram page. As for “being a missionary is not for everyone”, may I suggest that Christ’s “Great Commission” (Matthew 28:16-20, as I recall) calls us all to be missionaries. What it doesn’t do my friend, and the lesson I learned, is that it doesn’t tell me to go around the world to be a missionary; My Missions Field is right here where God has planted me. I suspect yours is also, for now, my young friend. 🙂

    1. Thank you Ms. Kathy. Learning about how God is being presented around the world gives me ideas about things I can do right here in my own community. I may not have to dig new wells to give me neighbor’s clean drinking water, but I can serve on the local water and natural resources board to make sure we protect what we have. I can also help educate my farming friends on more ecological ways we can produce crops, with less environmental impact. Missions can take many forms my friend. I’ve applied farming techniques developed in Africa to help me cultivate nutritious forage during hot Texas summers in one example. I learned this from a visiting missionary with the LDS church.

  16. One time, J.D., I wrote a blog post called “Minnow Ministry”, because most of the time, I don’t know why God has me write my blog posts. I’ve learned, though, that God never wastes anything and that even if I never understand His ways, I can trust in His heart. My task is to be obedient, and to give Him the glory in everything. Thank you for your blog. It is a blessing to me!

    1. That’s for sure Ms. Gena. Honestly, I’m surprised that anyone ever responds to one of mind, but I thank God for each person who does. It reminds me that God’s words never return empty my friend. As Christian writers, we may never know whom God intends our words for, but we can be certain He knows and He will guide them to achieve His purpose. Our job is to allow Him to use us as the delivery method my friend. I’m glad you enjoy my posts ma’am, as I do yours. God’s blessings ma’am.

  17. JD, I love this blog! I’ve had so many similar thoughts lately. If we would all just take our place in the body and fulfill what He’s put in our hands to do, whatever that looks like, how beautifully complete the body would be.

    1. Amen! Thank you Ms. Carolyn. Very well said ma’am; if we will each joyfully do our part, sharing in the task God assigns us, then I the world will be immersed in His love and light. Am so glad you enjoyed ma’am. God’s blessings.

  18. Another insightful reminder of what it means to be “on mission,” J.D. More than that, it’s a call to quit caving in to the lies that the enemy whispers in our ear when opportunities stand before us. God bless you, my friend, and keep cranking out His truth by what you say and how you live.

  19. I know I’m delayed in my reply but I simply must. While reading your post, I remember that feeling of being overwhelmed while standing in front of a group of people (men on one side, women on the other) in Dibrugarh, Assam, India. They wanted to hear me sing in Assamese a simple song of God’s love. Wow! Could it have actually been the first time they heard that message? I didn’t even know the language! Could I really connect with these brother and sisters in Christ? The enemy said, “You fool” but the Truth prevailed. I sang and they listened. We are called to be obedient. You are. I’ll go for you, my friend. Will be headed to Ecuador next month.

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