“But what can I do to serve God?”
This is a question I have often found myself asking. I want to live my life for Christ. I want to be able to make an impact for His kingdom. But what? And how?
I’m not a missionary kid. People often assume that I am and are confused when I try to clarify: Yes, I’m a Christian. Yes, my family lives in a “foreign” country. But no, we’re not missionaries in the technical sense of the word. Somehow, admitting to the fact produces a sense of inferiority. Where’s the purpose in “just living” in South America when I’m not doing special mission work?
But really, aren’t we all called to do God’s work?
When the people asked Jesus, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:28–29 NKJV).
Jesus makes it sound so basic, so simple. The work of God is that we believe in Jesus. That’s it? Of course, we have the rest of the New Testament to instruct us on what it means to be a believer in Jesus. Is it easy? No. Simple? Maybe.
Maybe doing God’s work isn’t so much about physical accomplishments, but more about the sincerity of our hearts and doing what He’s told us to do.
I think of Anna the prophetess from Luke chapter 2. She spent her days in the temple, praying. It wouldn’t look like Anna was doing anything special with her life to the outside world. She wasn’t going out and accomplishing great feats. But she recognized the infant Messiah and gave thanks to God.
Not everyone is called to be an Apostle Paul. Some are called to be an Anna.
God Sees the Acts Done in Secret
Your acts in serving God don’t need to be big and impressive to be valid. God honors the seemingly insignificant deeds as much as He does the easily recognizable ones.
We tend to grade things by levels of importance – we might see one service as “doing great things for God” and another as unworthy of notice. But doesn’t God see it all?
Jesus said that the poor widow who gave two mites to the temple treasury gave more than those who gave large sums, for “they all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on” (Mark 12:41–44 NIV).
Jesus saw that she was giving everything she had to God. Two piddly coins don’t look impressive, but Jesus looked at the motive of her heart.
Are you like the rich people, doing good in order to be recognized by men? Congrats, you have your reward.
Or are you like the widow? Are you doing your work in silence, not allowing your left hand to see what the right hand does? Is the Lord alone seeing it enough for you?
Doing ALL Your Work as to the Lord
Since I was a young girl, I aspired to be like Amy Charmichael and rescue children. But it could only be a distant dream. Months and years of ordinary life passed by without my doing anything of seeming eternal value.
“Working as to the Lord.” I grew up hearing the phrase, but I puzzled over its meaning. It took me until I was in my twenties for it to finally click.
I was reading a novel by Martha Finely. There’s a scene where several sisters are sewing together and commiserating over their lack of ability and opportunity to serve the Lord. Their mother then points out how they can serve the Lord in everything they do, even in their sewing.
In a flash, realization crystalized.
All of my work could be done as serving God! Perhaps I could have become a missionary to India like Amy Carmichael – but God hadn’t called me to India. He had me right where I was in Southern Chile, and He had given me work to do for that day.
I went on to wash dishes with a burst of joy, purpose, and vigor.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23–24 NKJV
You can serve God by rescuing orphans. You can also serve Him in the mundane tasks of life. Be like that poor widow and give everything you have to God. Serve Him by sharing the gospel and serve Him by cleaning toilets with the right attitude.
Wherever it is that God has placed you – in your work, school, or other activities – it can all be done as work to the Lord. Are you a student? Do your schoolwork as working to the Lord. Are you working a job or serving in your home? Do all of these with an attitude of working for the Lord.
How? By doing your work with a heart of worship. With an attitude that says, “God, I give all my work and effort to You. Use it however You see fit.”
Your mission will be different from mine. It may change over the years. It may be entirely different in just six months.
But you do have a mission. You can – and should – serve God with what He’s given you, right where you are. Even if it is as simple as Anna praying. Or as unassuming as offering a cup of cold water to a child. There’s nothing greater or more important than doing what God has told you to do today, missionary kid or not.
I challenge you to do today’s tasks with a mindset of serving the Lord. Ask Him what mission He’s sending you on today. Whether that’s encouraging a family member, teaching a Sunday school lesson, or selling all to move overseas.
So what’s your mission today?
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 NIV
TCKs for Christ: Editor-in-Chief
grew up between the United States and Chile and has months of experience living out of a backpack. She’s a reader and writer with an appreciation for historical authenticity and quality editing. She lives in an island cottage surrounded by sheep and an apple orchard and enjoys playing her viola, cooking, and sipping mate, a South American tea.
4 thoughts on “To the Non-Missionary Kid: You Have a Mission”
This is so convicting and powerful, Bridget! Thank you for sharing!
So glad it served as a blessing to you, Kristianne! Thanks for reading <3
Absolutely beautiful post. Thank you for sharing this truth, Bridget!
Aw, thanks, Allison!