by Judi Chow
Have you seen the TV show called “Who wants to be a millionaire”? I enjoyed watching it if it happened to be on when I was flipping the channels. I found myself so involved in the game, I would compete with the person sitting in the hot-seat . I was right, he should have picked “B” instead of “D”! Everybody knows the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France and not Switzerland! If he had used his lifelines … A few years ago, this game show, airing every night in HK, catered to the Chinese population. I couldn’t compete with the contestants since I didn’t know most of the answers. One thing remained the same, the lifelines. When the contestants stumbled and needed help, they could call a friend, ask the audience, and/or choose the 50-50 which eliminated half of the possible answers. Using the lifelines appropriately could help the person advance into another level, one step closer to becoming a millionaire.
I like the idea of having lifelines, an opportunity to ask for help when in need. What about missionaries? Can missionaries have lifelines? When they are in the field and stumble onto a problem or situation beyond their knowledge or ability to handle, whom can they call? Whom can they ask? Where can they seek help? Some people might object to the term “lifelines.” Aren’t our lives in the hands of God? Isn’t God the only help and resource we ever need? Why depend on people’s help? Prayer is the only “lifeline” one ever needs! Yes, these are truths, like pieces to a jig-saw puzzle, but not representing the whole picture. God intended the missionary to work on a team and I am not referring only to other missionaries or local coworkers serving on the same field.
Paul didn’t go on the missionary journey by himself, he was sent along with Barnabas by the church of Antioch, and they took John-Mark with them. If you are part of the sending church or missions agency behind the missionary, consider yourselves part of the team. If you’ve promised to support the missionary financially and/or by prayers, you are also part of that same team. If you are the missionary’s pastor or mentor, yes, you are a very important member of this team. If you are the missionary’s disciples, you are most special because who is going to receive the baton from the missionary? Let me suggest three possible lifelines for missionaries:
1. Enlist yourself to be on the list of “friends” for the missionary to call upon when in need.
2. Plan a trip to visit your missionary, consider it a vacation with a special purpose.
3. Send an email, a note, or card to let the missionary know you’ve prayed for him/her.
As a missionary myself, I know we can go on much farther on this spiritual journey if we have some lifelines to use when in need. Yes, we need to keep a very close vertical connection with our Master, but that horizontal connection with team members is also important. Please remember there is a big difference between team players and the audiences in any sports. If God has called you to be a member of this missionary team, please don’t sit with the audience. Come down to the field and play your part!