How Could God Use A Missionary Like Me?

By Mike Pettengill, Mar 2, 2015

Many churches sacrifice teaching on the eternal wellbeing of others to make room for teaching that emphasizes temporary personal joy. It is sad how in recent years the words sacrifice, martyr, and submission have become less popular and considered more extreme in our churches. Willing to make personal sacrifice is what being a disciple is all about. God calls us to be willing to give all we have.

Seeking Answers
With these teachings in my heart I can’t help but ask, how could God use a missionary like me? I turn to Scripture for answers and find Genesis 12:1 where we are told, “Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.’” And, then in Matthew 28:19-20, Christ says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” And, the same question torments my mind, how could God use a missionary like me?

Returning to Scripture we find Romans 12:1, where Paul says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Then in Romans 10:14-15 he says, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” And, all I can do is ask, how could God use a missionary like me?

Still doubting, I turn my attention to great theologians, like John Piper who says, “A God-centered theology has to be a missionary theology.” Charles Spurgeon tells us, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.” I continue to ask, how could God use a missionary like me?

I Am a Missionary
Doubts flood my soul and torment my thoughts. I am a missionary, but I am not a doctor, construction worker, or pastor. What can I contribute? I became a Christian as an adult and I have a degree in political science. I am not a graduate of seminary or medical school. Daily, I look at my life and find nothing that points to the fact that I can be a good missionary.

I live in a Latin country, in a culture that is not my own. For years I have served as a missionary never feeling equal to the task. Always feeling I was an insufficient vessel for sharing God’s good news. Yet, I have seen the sick healed, the hungry fed, and the lame walk. I have watched as gang members lay down their guns and picked up a Bible. I have witnessed blind children receive sight. I watched as a 13-year-old pregnant, rape victim shared the joy of Christ. I observed an abusive alcoholic father follow the Lord, put down the bottle, and become a true spiritual leader in his home. However, I continue to ask, how could God use a missionary like me?

Throughout Scripture God uses insufficient vessels to bring himself glory. The great disciples in Scripture, the ones who stumble in their faith and return to God, they were just as insufficient to the task as I am. The great Moses was a murderer. David, who was a man after God’s own heart, couldn’t keep his hands off his neighbors. And the missionary Paul began as a persecutor of Christians. Yet all I can ponder is, how could God use a missionary like me?

How Could God Use You?
Now, you have an important question to answer. How could God use a missionary like you?

Pastors and church leaders: Are you preparing your flock to leave your church? Are you equipping them with the knowledge they need to share the gospel and the heart to take it into the world? David Livingstone, missionary to Africa, said, “The best remedy for a sick church is to put it on a missionary diet.”

Moms and dads: Are you preparing to send your babies into the world? Are you praying God will take them from you and place them in harms way so he can be greatly glorified? If you are worried about sending your children on the mission field, remember God had only one son and He sent Him to be a missionary

If you are NOT called: If you know God has not called you to full-time missions, if you know He has called you to serve elsewhere, are you praying He would send your best friend, your boyfriend, your parents out into the world? If God is not currently calling you to serve as a cross-cultural missionary pray fervently for those He has called.

If you ARE called: If you know God has called you to missions, if you are certain He wants you to leave your home, know this, God is worthy of sacrifice and He is calling his people to give all they have, even lay down their lives, so His gospel can reach the world. Charles Spurgeon said, “If God has fit you to be a missionary, I would not have you shrivel down to be a king.”

If you are scared: If you, like me, feel you are a called to be a missionary, but you are insufficient to the task, I tell you, brother, sister, embrace God’s glory. Know that if you are called to be a missionary God has great plans for you. The great missionary C.T. Studd said, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”

Mike Pettengill has served with MTW in Honduras and Equatorial Guinea. He is now the director of MTW’s West Coast office.

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Pray for current missionaries, future missionaries, sending churches, and donors to be willing to ask the question, "How could God use me?"

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Pray for our ministries in Honduras, impacted by severe lockdowns followed by two hurricanes.

Please pray for those in Honduras whose livelihoods have been devastated by the COVID-19 lockdown and for missionaries stepping up to meet their community's needs.

Pray today for Puerta de Esperanza (Door of Hope), which ministers to the needs of impoverished and vulnerable single mothers in La Ceiba, Honduras.

Pray for first-year missionaries who can feel incompetent and overwhelmed as they begin ministry on the field.

Pray for the street boys involved in the Peter Project ministry and drop-in center in Honduras. Pray that the boys will develop a relationship with Christ, grow spiritually, and heal from the impact life's hardships.

Pray for the orphaned and street children at The Peter Project. Pray for these beautiful boys to know the love of Christ and find refuge from the effects of poverty.

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Pray for the street children in La Ceiba, Honduras, to find love, permanence, and a solid faith in Christ.


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