As a pastor I read over all the reports/updates from all of the missionaries and missions organizations our church supports and after reading through many of these I’ve found a trend.
“______ has been healed!”
“______ has had a dramatic spiritual encounter and no longer has convulsions.”
“______ was completely healed of all ailments.”
“In ______ the Holy Spirit is moving miraculously.”
“Demons came out of ______ last week.”
“______ prophesied over the city and felt God’s plan to heal the nation.”
Get the gist? It seems the trend in most of the missions reports these days are seeking to let us back home know that God is up to miraculous things in the world. People getting healed, speaking in tongues, prophesying, getting exorcised, all while we hear vague spiritual language about God doing extraordinary works among them.
This is just the trend I am concerned with, the desire to seek and experience the “extraordinary” works of God.
Now, while God does do things we don’t expect and does work miracles in this world – notice the one thing missing in all of these mission reports? The gospel. Where is Jesus? Where is salvation? Where is the Word of God being preached? Where are people growing in faith? Where are people spreading the gospel and how are they doing it? How is the gospel moving forward into this nation, or this people group?
It seems that we have a desire in these days for God to do the “extraordinary” thing among us. I have issue with this because I think when we seek the “extraordinary” we miss the “ordinary.” We miss God working through His Word preached. We miss God working through His gospel. When did we come to believe that salvation, people growing in faith, the Word being preached, or people spreading the gospel to a new city is not extraordinary? We have been duped.
Phillip said a similar thing in John 14:8, “Just show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Phillip wanted Jesus to do an extraordinary thing and seal his faith for good. He wanted to see God. How did Jesus respond? “Have I not been among you for so long and still you don’t recognize that when you see Me you see My Father?” (John 14:9-10) Apparently Phillip thought Jesus was too ordinary. He needed something more. Jesus rebuked him. Do we need the same rebuke?
The extraordinary work of God is God’s ordinary work – saving sinners. This is extraordinary. Perhaps when we visit our missionaries we should be seeking to encourage them in God’s “ordinary” works.