13"I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
"As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." John 17:18
Many churches send teams of young people on short-term mission trips. As they serve, God uses them to bless others, but these young people often note that they are the ones who benefit most from the experience. Their eyes are opened to the physical and spiritual needs of people of different cultures and races. They also learn that we don't need to get on an airplane to visit a mission field.
Jesus prays for his followers in John 17. He asks not that we be taken out of the world but that God would protect us as he sends us into the world around us. The call may be to another country, but let's be careful not to ignore the workplace or neighborhood in which we already know many people.
As you manage your business, or teach the students in your class, or serve on a committee in your community, or follow up with a co-worker in the lunchroom about a rebellious child, be aware that that is your primary place of mission. People today are hungry for God. We need to know how to engage people in conversations and relationships that don't have an "agenda" other than to simply show the love of Jesus. Ask God today to give you listening ears and to give others an open heart that will respond. As he sends you, know that Jesus continues to work through you.
Lord, you have placed me in my school, my work, my neighborhood, and my community. Forgive me when I've lost sight of the mission to love all the people around me. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!