As a foreigner living in China for almost four years, Zach has been asked many times how Chinese treat Christians and Christianity. This is his answer, taken from his own experiences and those around him.
There once was a seminary professor who asked students, "Could missionaries do part-time jobs?"
The definition of a missionary vary in nature, depending on how society sees it and how the Bible sees it. In China, for example, being a missionary means to suffer for the Lord and do the job with equal love for the world.
In the Bible, the spiritual aspect of a missionary's job is written in Revelation 21:15-21. In these verses, it spoke about how the angels measured new Jerusalem. In a deeper perspective, the measurement of new Jerusalem represents a missionary's spiritual height, length and width.
Spiritual height refers to one's relationship with God. Many people tend to believe that missionaries doing part-time jobs are unspiritual, affecting their relationship with God.
There are two people in the Bible who serve as good examples on how one's relationship with God does not take into account their environment and job: Enoch and Noah. In Genesis 5:22, it spoke about how Enoch, a descendant of Adam, walked with God for 300 years after he became the father of Methuselah. Even if one remained as a father or did work, Enoch's example shows one's relationship with God is not determined by one's environment or job. It is not necessarily spiritual to always be in the church or be unspiritual outside it.
Spiritual length speaks about one's talents or the equipment given to man by God to fulfill his tasks. He should not detach himself from the world and utilize his talents to make a difference. A missionary should not only equip himself with theology, but also understand the world: from the state of the country to the believers' daily life. He should keep studying to keep up with the changing society in order to preach effectively and properly.
Finally, spiritual width pertains to one's forbearance. Some missionaries do part-time jobs because of social pressures. Young missionaries face great pressure when it comes to marriage and investing on items like a house and a car.
It is not a missionary's task to preach the Gospel. It is his mission to shepherd believers or those who are willing to become believers. Many believers who are unable to explain the truth tend to do mission work. They bring people to the church and let the preachers teach them.
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he commissioned his disciples to go out to the world. It is only when missionaries go out do they meet new people and help them understand our faith.
With this in mind, 21st century missionaries should go out to the world instead of staying in the church doing nothing.
Editor Note: The author is a seminary student in Shandong.
Translated by: Alvin Zhou
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