Are we reflecting God?
"Since God is a missionary God, God's people are a missionary people." -- Eddy Ho, evangelical leader from Malaysia
For Eddy Ho, the reason pushing us to evangelize the whole world is powerful: World evangelism reflects the character of God. In essence, God does not sit in Heaven barking orders to us to go seek the Lost. Instead, He beckons us to join Him in a worldwide search for lost people.
God goes to great lengths to cross barriers and overcome obstacles to confront sinful people and offer them His grace. Because God so tirelessly does that, English author Francis Thompson used a hunting dog metaphor in "The Hound of Heaven," his epic 182-line poem about God. Eddy Ho says that if that is the way God is, then that's the way we should be.
Being Christlike should be the heart's desire of every believer. Indeed, more than a century ago, believers began singing Thomas Chisholm's song "Oh! To be like Thee." Emulating God's love, holiness, and missionary heart is right in line with what Genesis 1:17 declares about our having been created in God's image.
Sadly, sin marred and distorted that image. The good news is that God wants to transform us to be more like Him. In Eddy Ho's opinion, being like God means that we will be a missionary people.
Ho's exhortation for us to be missionary people reflecting our Creator, Redeemer and Lord evokes what British missionary Henry Martyn wrote: "The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become."
Eddy Ho's powerful sentence about why we are to be a missionary people reminds us that the reason believers should be involved in world evangelism is that it reflects the very character of God. Emulating God's love, holiness, and missionary heart should be the heartfelt desire of every Christ-follower. God, as portrayed by Francis Thompson's metaphor of a hunting dog in "The Hound of Heaven," goes to great lengths to seek the lost. So should we. Henry Martyn's words about the Spirit of Christ and missions that remind us that the closer we get to Christ, the more ardently missionary-minded, we become.
-- Howard Culbertson,
More mini-essays in the "Slogans to awaken the Church" series published in Engage magazine