The Auto Parts Missionary and Agape Love

I was having lunch with a friend yesterday and I told him God was calling him to be a missionary.  He laughed at me and shook his head in the ‘no-way’ fashion.  “You’re imagining grass huts and tribal peoples right?” I said.  He replied in the positive.  “What if,” I posited, “we had a new imagination for missionary?  What if a missionary works at an auto parts store?  Plays guitar for fun…gets together with friends to share a beer?”  Now I knew I had his attention.  “A missionary isn’t defined by where they are, but who they are.  You are called by God to love those you encounter – wherever you are.  Whether you are hauling trash, performing brain surgery, or washing dishes…you are a missionary.  Our job isn’t to brainwash the masses or condemn them from the news media pulpit.  Our call is simple but difficult – love people as God loves people.  That is discipleship.  That is making disciples.  You my friend, are a missionary.”

Now it is one thing to know a call but it is an entirely different thing to feel as though we can live it out.  If we set sail on our own, we become obsessed with people’s behaviors rather than their hearts.  We try to regulate them rather than minister to their souls.  Behaviors are easily monitored.  Attendance is easily monitored.  Left to our own methods we look to quantify and qualify all the work we are doing ‘for God’.  But who is really receiving glory here?  This is not mission work.  This is the work of a jailor.

Love (See 1 Cor 13) is born of The Spirit.  Love is freedom from bad definitions of missionaries, evangelism, discipleship, church, and even God.  Agape love is a love that grips us where we are, calls us into the now, and frees us to give in a way we could never have imagined.  Agape love stands firm on the truth but doesn’t use it as a weapon.

Learning to Agape, living into freedom comes a little at at time.  We are moved into it as we pray, as we worship, as we digest the Word of God, as we fast, as give, as we encounter, as we practice.  So to the missionaries out there in auto part stores, fast food joints, hospitals, and unions – may you learn to Agape.



1 Comment »

  1. Robin Dugall Said:

    Zach has it right…

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