Dr. Rebekah Naylor is a somewhat of a hero among those familiar with Southern Baptist missions.
She was a gifted surgeon who served in India for 35 years. Because of her work, she became known as the “Mother Theresa of Bangalore.” She oversaw the construction of hospitals, led regional health education programs, and trained other surgeons. She also started a choir in the hospital, led chapels and Bible studies, as well as designing an evangelism program to reach India through the ministry of the hospital.
So, which was she—a surgeon or a missionary? Both.
Because she was a gifted surgeon making an obvious sacrifice to serve in India, she was given access to opportunities not open to others. Because she was a missionary, she saw her purpose beyond the daily routines of surgery and patient care. She was part of God’s plan to reach India.
To understand Dr. Naylor, you have to understand both facets of her.
Here’s my point: All of us are missionaries, though we may do something else professionally. Dr. Naylor was a surgeon who did missionary work. Now, you and I find ourselves in a North American culture that is less and less responsive to the gospel. Whatever research you may want to read, you will find that professing Christians are making up an increasingly smaller part of the American population. Some experts are now saying that North America, home of more churches than anywhere else in the world, is the great mission field of the world. Indeed, Brazil and some African nations are sending missionaries to the United States.
What if you were to see yourself in your professional role as what you are—and a missionary?
What if you understood you were an accountant and a missionary? A lawyer and a missionary? A nurse, teacher, coach, mechanic, plumber—and a missionary?
What if, like Dr. Naylor, you saw your job, volunteer activities, recreational groups as your “platform?”
A platform is what missionaries call a vocation or skill set that gives them access to reach someone with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
– What if every Christian in North America began to see themselves as missionaries sent to their communities, schools, gyms, golf courses, tennis courts, running groups, community choirs, political parties?
– What if we understood that Jesus has sent us to the places we are because someone needs to hear His gospel?
Would that change the way you looked at your situation? Would it change the plans you had for your career?
– Who is there that you are supposed to reach?
Want to know more about this topic? Watch Mike’s sermon from January 16.