Missionaries and the “Average” Believer – Post 2 of 3

See the excerpt below from a commentary I am reading for our Philippians bible study.  I think this is interesting, maybe more to me than others since it is directly applicable in some ways to our current situation.  I also post it in light of the post from yesterday recruiting others to come to Curahuasi.  I read the part below about some who raise pastors or missionaries to a higher level as a way to avoid the call to missions.  I do not know if this is common or not, but I suspect that if it is, it is perhaps a subconscious effort.  I want to say that we are so normal, struggling with our parenting, struggling with reading the Bible consistently, and struggling with prayer, and struggling with selfishness and even laziness at work.  Yet we are happy and feel like we are in God’s will, doing something that matters.  And I want those who think about it, who think they might want to do missions, to know that they can do it too.  And we will be here to help you through the culture shock and adjustment; or perhaps more honestly we will go through it with you.  So if you are interested, come on!

Missionaries and the “Average” Believer — Two-Tiered Configuration?

The two -tiered system of martyrs and “average” believers exists in the American church in a different guise today. Now we place missionaries or pastors above other believers, creating a privileged class that does the church no good. Paul felt compelled to speak the gospel (1 Cor 9: 16); God had called him for this task, and he was only being obedient in carrying out that task — God gives the growth (3: 6). Paul cannot boast in anything, just as the man washing dishes is obeying the call to be a cleaner of the restaurant kitchen, or the woman performing surgery on an infant’s heart is obediently using the gifts of healing given her by God. And the missionary is no more obedient to God’s call than the housewife and stay-at-home mother. I’ve been both — I know. In each case, obedience is the operating factor. That means that missionaries cannot boast that they are doing more for the kingdom or are somehow gifted with a higher calling. Sadly, not all missionaries I have met would agree with me. Moreover, many like to exalt missionaries because as they build them up , they can rationalize that since they are not such strong Christians, God could never call them into mission work. The two-tiered system thus meets both needs — that of the missionary who wants to feel privileged, and that of the “average” believer who does not want God to call them to missions. This God-dishonoring dance needs to stop. It also means that the housewife has as much responsibility to live into God’s kingdom, to step outside her comfort zone and obey God as he asks her to risk for the sake of the gospel. The point is not what we do; the point is that we are doing what God asks us to do.

Longman III, Tremper; McKnight, Scot; Cohick, Lynn H. (2013-10-29). Philippians (The Story of God Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 1588-1593). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Tomorrow a final post in this series on why I don’t want nor should everyone come.

10 thoughts on “Missionaries and the “Average” Believer – Post 2 of 3

  1. Pingback: We Need Help in Curahuasi – Post 1 of 3 | cairesinperu

      • Except: genetic bone disorder, no way to know how serious it would be in potential future children, and I’ve had several hundred thousand dollars of surgery to function as a merely average human being. Not sure how the medical science or the finances would help us out there. The more I meditate on it the more I realize that I need A) an engineering job (Greek and Hebrew are really useful for interpreting scripture, not for having health insurance, regular dr visits, or car tune ups) B) to only try missions in a developed country.

        I mean that as a clear statement of my limitations as a human being not as a mere excuse. I am, compared to the economic value I’ve produced in my life, a black hole of finances. It’s best that I can afford it in case my own children are the same (which is statistically likely in the extreme).


      • In all truth, I want those who have a desire or wish or calling or whatever to come. I think they will find something for which they may be looking. But I don’t want everyone to come and I will post a little more on that tomorrow. I understand everyone has their own situation. It goes without saying (I hope) that I am a huge fan of the Smith family, and when I have the chance to encourage them to live near me I am going to do it, even if it is not necessarily possible. It is meant as a sign of love, and not an attempt to cause guilt!


      • I’m a huge fan of the Caire family. I’d love to live in Peru, not only is there a great need there but food is really cheap and I enjoy eating. For now such things would be pretty difficult. If I were to become some sort of engineering type though, then going on mission trips, even somewhat extended ones would not be too terribly difficult. I really do hope all is well. The main point of my earlier post was to utterly miss the point of yours. I was just trying to see what it felt like to be a high school student again.


  2. Pingback: Verses from Philippians and Why I don’t want Everyone to Come – Part 3 of 3 | cairesinperu

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