Above all else#8. “Going Home.”

Above all else#8. “Going Home.”

In the late 1980s, I had the honour of driving an “old” missionary (I doubt that he was 60 at the time) to a lectureship. The four-hour drive seemed like nothing as he answered my many questions about his years on the mission field.

That was the day I learned the qualities of a true missionary. He did not see himself as having left home—he saw himself as going home.

His love for God, the church, and the lost was as natural to him as breathing. His past and present stories of regret and delight were framed with heaven in view. Here was a man packed for the journey. He carried only what he needed and owned nothing that might slow him down.

Years later I met my missionary brother again, but that time as an old friend. He had never ceased his mission to call others to go home to heaven with him. The only thing that had changed over the decades was the sense that he was close to arrival. He said, “John, nothing I desire is here.”

This was no cry of defeat. This was the spirit of a man who knew that the days of all men eventually end. As the apostle Paul would work up until his last day, but he would also say with Paul:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

A mission is defined by its destination. Let’s go home!

John Staiger

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