On an evening not long ago in a church sanctuary while the lights burned low, this is what came to my heart. When I got done writing I breathed a sigh of relief. I hope you’ll do the same when you finish reading . . .
This is easy to forget: God doesn’t value a far-off there more than an ordinary and near here. And every there for us is someone else’s here.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. (Psalm 24:1)
Yes, a few are called to go but most are called to stay and this is no lesser of a story to be living. If God is everywhere, and He tells us that He is, then He loves all the earth and we can serve Him in any corner of it—including the one at the end of our own street. And we are all missionaries because none of us are “Home.” We are all in a foreign place, in a culture where we are not true citizens but sojourners.
Our citizenship is in heaven. (Philippians 3:20)
We can honor God in the familiar. We can seek Him in the sameness. We do not have to go anywhere but to Him in order for us to be useful in His Kingdom. For those called to step on a plane or a train or boat . . . go with the blessing of God. For those called to stay in a kitchen or a conference room or at a desk in a class . . . stay with the blessing of God.
“Missionary” simply means someone who has or is on a mission.
If that’s the case then we all bear that name. Yes, let’s give special care and honor to those for whom it is also an occupation. But in doing so let’s not diminish the privilege we all have of being part of a great mission too.
We have been sent. You have been sent. I have been sent. We were sent the second the first spark of life flickered in our mother’s womb. To this earth. And now to wherever we are today.
So let’s not be afraid or feel guilty. Let’s not believe that there is a more “spiritual” location to be. Let’s never let our hearts be convinced God is not as fully here as He is on some distant continent.
Instead let’s take off our shoes and our misconceptions and declare that this is holy ground too. Because God is here. He is in this moment. Perhaps even more miraculous, He is in us. And that is what He wants us to bring to wherever we are, wherever we go — not our talent or our goodness, our knowledge or our niceness. God Himself.
Do you want to know where God is asking you to serve and bless and bring Him glory right now? You only need to look down at the one-foot square of humble, sacred earth beneath your feet. The only place on this spinning globe where both you and God are present in this moment. The one where you can always make a difference.Leave a Comment
Dearest Miss Holley,
Living in a home where we house different missionaries from across the Earth and their spouses or friends almost every week as they pass through on their journey this has been a topic of discussion a lot as of late… Yet, as soon as it comes to mind I am humbly reminded that God has woven together this wonderful story to get me right where I am right now. If I was meant to be somewhere else or doing something else… I’d be there doing that. But, as for now I am called to be a “Stationary Missionary” and serve Him and HIS kingdom where I am l, just as I am. I LOVED the line about “there being someone else’s here.” I want to thank you so much for sharing the words our Heavenly Father has laid on your heart; stronger confirmation!
This side of Heaven,
Love hearing about the gift of hospitality the Lord has cultivated in your family. Reminds me of Peter’s words in his first epistle, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling”. So encouraging to see this gift being connected with the call of missionaries to foreign lands. Seeing God’s varied gifts being used to serve one another stirs up praise in my heart for God’s ways of working through the body of Christ to bring about His kingdom!
Summer Rae says
Thank you, it is such an honor to be able to serve the Kingdom of God! Being able to meet such amazing people and hear their stories is truly priceless. It is such a beautiful life when you live it in obidience to God!
This side of Heaven,
Holley Gerth says
I love how you said that, Summer–a “Stationary Missionary.” I’ve never heard it put that way before!
Summer Rae says
That is a saying I learned from my Mama and seeing as I recently started a blog to share God’s love and lessons learned the term “Stationary Missionary” has a double meaning!
This side of Heaven,
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I love the idea that if our citizenship is in Heaven, then, in reality, we are ALL on a mission trip during our time spent on this globe called earth. We are ALL called, wherever we live, to be par of the great Commission which is to spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We do that by loving God first and loving others as we love ourselves. We can do that on a far off continent or we can do that in the produce section at our local grocery store. This world is full of people who need Jesus and we can bring Him to them or them to Him no matter what city we call home. Wonderfully poignant post ….
Naomi Fata says
Beautiful! Thank you! At one time in my life I thought God calling me to overseas missions and then He led me to stay in my home town. Sometimes it is easy to look at other college friends who are serving in far off fields and think that God is more pleased with their service than mine. But always and forever He reminds me that He wants my heart right here and now – right where I am .
Sasha A. Palmer says
Thank you for this, Holley.
But how do you figure out whether you’re here because God has led you here, or because of the choice you made — not the right choice perhaps? That’s the hardest thing for me — believing that I’m following the right path.
I feel that your post today is one of the ways God is answering me.
Holley Gerth says
Hey Sasha! I believe we all take some detours along the way and God is like our divine GPS who can reroute as many times as needed. He will use us in the “here” and if needed, he will get us to the “there.” This verse comforts me in that a lot: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Prov. 19:21). God is able to transform even what we might call a mistake into a mission field. Cheering you on!
Sasha A. Palmer says
Thank you, Holley.
I find Sasha’s comment in my life. I only want what God’s will is for my life as I face another challenging move. Not of my own making. I find myself feeling like a leaf tossed about during a hurricane. My only constant is God.
Sasha A. Palmer says
I sometimes write poems about feeling like a leaf 🙂 Here’s one:
Across the ocean there stands a tree
that prays for me — a leaf torn off its branch is my soul.
Best of luck with your move, Beverly. “My only constant is God” is a wonderful line.
Jan Buckman says
Thank you, Holley. You are such an Encourager (InCourage)! We all need to remember we are God’s messengers wherever we are & whatever we are doing.
Kelly Smith says
This answers a question that came up in my small group last night. If we are called to visit orphans and widows (James 1:27), how do we practically do this with small kids in tow? I love the encouragement you give us to be in mission right where we are! Thank you!
Mary W. says
Maybe it’s just a matter of making a dinner for the widow in your church or even just visiting her. You could bring your small children along. They would be part of it and give great joy to the widow.
We don’t have an orphanage nearby but we do have shelters for single moms and their children. Dropping off items with the little ones in tow was always a good memory for them and me.
As a widow myself, I would appreciate the dinner and just visiting Mary W. once upon a time. It’s a huge need!
Holley Gerth says
I think in our culture “widows and orphans” can have a broader definition too. For example, who in our lives doesn’t have the benefit of the support of a spouse or parents? That might be single mamas, kids whose parents are absent emotionally even if they’re present physically, a woman with a workaholic husband, senior adults whose parents have long been with Jesus and need care, etc. I think we can ask God to give us eyes that see how to live this out with the folks right in front of us. In Paul’s time, widows and orphans were the most vulnerable. So I think today we can ask, “God, show me who is vulnerable and in need right in front of me?” to live out the principle of and God’s heart behind this verse.
Thank-you…. you have so beautifully brought this to light. We all can’t be there, for some are to be here. And by being aware, we can make a difference.
Have a blessed day,
I ❤❤❤this! Sometimes people think you have to go to a foreign place to do something “great” regarding missionary work. But yes, we are called to be His hands and feet right where we’re at!
Amy Richey says
As you are going, share the gospel… I completely agree that we are all to be on mission. But, just by ‘staying’, you don’t become a missionary. Is your primary focus to share Jesus with those God has placed around you? Do you engage in your neighbors lives? Do you introduce family and friends to the living Savior? If yes, wonderful!
Too often, I see people who ‘stay’ to focus on other things – the American dream, financial freedom, educational opportunities… This focus does not make you a missionary – no matter where you live.
There is truth to what you say, however, I think the point of the post is that too often there is too much comparison between folks as to what constitutes a mission.
Different callings for different folks, even as we are all one in Christ.
Jayne Smith says
No truer words have been written about the mission field. I have heard the call to go to the larger mission field for a short term mission task. I believe it is a test of my obedience and as I read more and more of what I shall face in the Chinese culture….a place where I am about to learn what it means to be a part of doing what is best for the group. I have no burning desire in my heart to save the lost of China than I do the lost folks I see each week, sometimes daily. Both are equally in need. God uses us wherever we are if we obey and share Him with others through our actions and voice.
Thank you for the reminder that everyone has a mission in life through Jesus Christ. There are wonderful journeys to be had right where we are planted.
Beatrice Carton says
We are Epistles read of all men/ women,wherever we are.
Praying for one another,neighbours, children,going to and from school,
even that person who doesn’t even acknowledge your ” Good morning”.
We stay at homes, can pray continually for all around us.
And especially those in far off lands,where life as a child of God, is fraught with danger.
I love these posts. Inspirational.
God will let us know clearly, when we have to go There from Here.
I have literally, on several different occasions had God tell me to remove my shoes because I was standing on Holy ground….that most often has happened when I was standing and praying in my living room early in the morning before anyone else was up. Its happened other places as well. Its so easy to forsake what looks like the mundane of everyday life in lieu of desiring something bigger, seemingly more important. Thank you for this message this morning. It was confirmation.
Lucia Schilb says
Holly, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us once again! Because of your mission, I am encouraged in mine. You are a blessing!
Michele Morin says
Walking away with this conviction: Holy ground is wherever God is — and He is everywhere. Thanks for the affirmation that those of us who are sorting the same old socks today are also doing the will of God.
We have a local mission church in our town. It’s so hard to get people from our main church to “go” a few miles to volunteer. We’d rather be comfortable in the 4 walls of the church doing programs or go on a mission trip somewhere short and/or foreign and then pat ourselves on the back thinking we’ve “gone” and we fulfilled some kind of duty than to drive a few miles to serve our community. We judge and condemn those who are different and have made some bad choices in their lives. Who needs Jesus? We all do whether it’s my next door neighbor or the person across the world.
Thank you for sharing this.
Pearl Allard says
Holley, wow, thank you. This was helpful and clarifying. “‘Missionary’ simply means someone who has or is on a mission.”
Susan Keich says
Thank you! Your words are a sweet balm to my heart. I have battled illness for the past 20 years. It’s easy to feel like you have no purpose especially when one is always being “encouraged” to do something for God from the pulpit. I often feel like I am sitting on the sidelines of life watching as others go forth doing great things for God. I am part of an online group of others who are struggling with illness and know that we all battle this same lie.
The line “we do not need to go anywhere but to Him in order for us to be useful in His kingdom” is a word from God to me bringing freedom. The weight of “not doing enough” is a heavy burden to carry. Because of your words, I no longer carry it. I’ve given it to Him!
Bless you, Holley. Keep listening and writing words of freedom for His people!
I so very appreciate the words you expressed here, Holley. As someone who is mostly housebound because of an illness in which debilitating reactions happen when exposed to numerous environmental triggers. I have struggled to grasp how to live out the great commission of making disciples. Through much prayer, the Lord continues to cultivate a mission-minded heart in me. When I consider the many people in my family (husband, adult child & spouse, extended) who are unbelievers or seem to be nominal/immature Christians, my heart longs for the good news to be shared with them, embraced by them and then they be discipled. Though the USA has a plethora of Christian resources and churches, I am grievously aware of the growing number of people in our country who have embraced other spiritual beliefs ranging from eastern religions (e.g. Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.) to a new aged, pick my own beliefs to the prosperity gospel to atheism. There is a great mission field here in America. And, because I live in a community of people with environmental illness such as mine, I also see the despair and suffering of people whose needs have been invisible and/or marginalized by family, friends and the medical community for reasons too extensive to share in this comment. I’m encouraged through the reminder that the mission field is right where we are at the moment. I continue to pray for equipping to share the gospel and display the love of Christ to my broken and hurting neighbors even while I continue to hurt in my own brokenness. With faith in the full and future redemption of all of our sin and suffering, my hope is in the Lord to build His kingdom through a broken woman like me who has “tasted that the Lord is good” and has found a “peace that passes understanding” in Christ Jesus! What a hope!! I pray: Lord, please continue to cultivate a mission-mindedness in each of us commenting here today and equip us to do what you have called us to: go and make disciples where you have placed us at the moment. Thank you for the hope we have in you to do this for your own glory and may we seek together to do everything we do for your glory! Amen.
Holley Gerth says
Thanks so much for sharing your perspectives, hearts and stories here! This is such a complex and important conversation and I really like hearing your thoughts.
Thanks Holley. Needed that reminder today. I really felt God calling me into missions when I was 14… but I’ve learned that He is using me right where I am. I don’t have to go off to a faraway land to be a missionary. 🙂 He has blessed me to support missions financially and I have done my best to stay faithful as a “sender”. He reminds me of the ministry He gives me right here right now like a coworker who just came to my desk to give me a hug to thank me for sending a card on the anniv of her mom’s passing just like I’ve done for the last 11 years. I didn’t have to board a plane for THAT! 🙂
Holley, such a wonderful and important post. There was a time when I thought if I did not go to a far off land, could God really use me to further His Kingdom. Well one day the Holy Spirit spoke into my heart and answered my question. What I heard in my heart was “Patty your mission field is in your own backyard”. So I never questioned my sphere of influence after that. Because I now realize where ever I am and who ever I am with I can make a difference in someone’s life. Nothing huge or earth shattering, but a warm hug, a sincere smile or a listening ear can be my personal mission quest for that moment in time. I also realize now that the greatest mission in my life, are my two grandchildren and pointing them towards JESUS as best I can ❤ Thanks again for a wonderful post Holley. God Bless!
Holly, I prayed for God to lead me where He wants me and for me to “be there” with Him and I read your remarks and realize that in the every day of every day we are at that moment where we are meant to be. I thank God for your willingness to share your thoughts and prayers and moments with us. You are a gift and today you were my Missionary!
Thank you Holley for you insights and even in old age, this is more and more my heart, and I am seeing Him fulfill this in my life when I am not driving, but have to rely on others. He is providing those wonderful opportunities with others and as I see Him at work, it enables me to give glory to God and realize that He is still at work and not limited by our circumstances. Availability to the Holy Spirit and the thoughts He places on your heart are from Him and are not to be dismissed, but obeyed. God bless you and your writings. I am passing them on to people I have met and perhaps ministered to.
patricia lohman says
hello holley:my life feels like its been on hold for almost a year now I feel like I am on a mission and god is guiding me,in the direction he would have me go..my patience is wearing thin with circumstances that I have been put in..I am a very patient person.faith in god has always been my strong point.I was encouraged reading your words.please pray for me,I know that when one door closes another opens.
Judy Terry says
Praying for you and comfort and continued patience; your faith will carry you through . . . . 🙂
Praying for you Patricia
Thank you for this wonderful suiting reminder. God bless you lovely sister.
“We can always make a difference right where we’re at.” Thank you so much for sharing Holley! Lovely words that blessed me today. I pray we always remember that we are useful right where we are. God uses us every day and He is always good! God bless you sweet soul. Love and hugs always xoxo ❤
Short. Sweet. And to the point! Perfect!
Nancy Ruegg says
Several statements caught my attention: 1) Whether we travel far or stay put, “let’s not be afraid or feel guilty.” 2) Holy ground is under our feet wherever we are. 3) In this one spot, at this one moment, I CAN make a difference because God is with me. Thank you for an attitude-changing post, Holley!
In my 63 years I’ve lived many different “missions”, some easier than others, but always knowing “here” is where God wanted me to be. Your words are so true Holley! Thank you for sharing God’s Blessings.
Thank you for these sweet words of encouragement, Holley. I appreciate you. ((hug))
Debbie Simler-Goff says
OH Holly, how this resonates with me. Sometimes it’s so easy to look on the other side of the fence at other’s ministry’s and think that what they are doing is important, and not fully embrace that what we have been asked to do – “the patch of earth beneath our feet” is not equally important. Bless you.
Robin L. Hureau says
God bless you my dear sister Holly.
Renee Arner says
I think my favorite line was, “we don’t have to go anywhere but to Him.” We have the amazing honor and priviledge of at any moment being able to say, “Hello, here I am, send me.” In the morning I often pray for God to not let me miss any opportunities He has for me to do something for Him for someone. I then find that during the day, He sets up a lot of “hallway meetings” or other “perfect timing” encounters with people. It is so much fun to think about things afterwards, and be able to say “Thanks, for setting that up, God!” It is so fun and humbling at the same time and all that is required is our willingness to check in and say, “I’m available.” What a wonderful God we serve, what a kind and loving Father to use us just as we are, where ever we are!! Thanks for this terrific post!!
Paulita A. Hayes says
I can relate to the value of your thoughts on missions. My grandparents, Frank and Pauline Patterson, were some of my life heroes. They spent many years of their lives serving in the foreign mission fields of Mexico, Central America, and all of South America. I admired their passion for the people of these lands to know Jesus. They weren’t simply on a mission to tell people about Jesus. They wanted to introduce the people they met to their Dearest Lord Jesus in a very personal way. When I was younger I aspired to be like them on a foreign field somewhere on planet earth. As I grew up and went off to college, I began to see how vast the mission field was right around me on my campus and in my adult world. We have work to do. All of us are called to our own mission by our Father in Heaven. All He wants from us is our willing heart and us to take action. Thank you, Holley for reminding all of us what the true definition of missions.
I saw a sign hanging above a church door for everyone to see as they left that said “Your mission field begins here”. It has always stuck with me as a reminder that every step we take in Christ is a mission field.
I totally agree with what you have said…we are all “called” to be on a mission…to further the Kingdom of our Father. I would like to give another thought, however. We’ve been one of those “over there” missionaries for more than 30 years. There’s been a big change from our first years to our more recent years. Our over there ministry usually cannot happen without those back home supporting the work. National Christians and churches just don’t have the resources that stateside believers have. Many of our supporters are with the Lord now and some (including churches) have stopped supporting because they’ve changed their “focus” to their immediate areas of ministry. We’ve seen megachurches develop with huge buildings including gyms and other “gathering” places. Yet the fields are still ripe over there and the workers are still few… just sayin’
Donna Reidland says
I really enjoyed this, Holley. Our church puts a great deal of emphasis on foreign missions, but I have always felt called here. I loved this, “we are all missionaries because none of us are ‘Home.’” Thanks for validating what many of us feel. Blessings!
Thank you, Holley, for confirming another email I received the very next day after I had told my hubby that I didn’t feel I was doing enough for Abba. Scripture tells us that a matter is decided by the witness of 2 or 3. Yours was the 2nd witness that I needed to finally settle in my heart that Father IS using me right where I am.
Bless you, and bless Father for hearing my heart’s desire!
Thank you for this. As a stay-at-home mama with some mental health issues, I need the reinforcement that my home is my mission.
Denise Ross says
Thank you Holley. Very timely for me right now to be reminded of this
Beth Williams says
This really speaks volumes to me: “Missionary” simply means someone who has or is on a mission. This helps me realize that my “mission” is right here. I am on a mission for God doing this hard work. These past few years have been tough. I’ve been semi-caregiving for my aging dad. It got to the point where I quit my full-time job. I visit him several times a week-smile & say hello to the other residents. Saturday my dad’s dementia had worsened & I had to hospitalize him again. You’ve made me realize that like those who go far off-I, too, am a missionary!
Holly, What a blessing this is to me. We sing a song in church..”Here I AM Lord, I will go, Lord” and in my 73 year old immaturity kind of felt that meant “somewhere,”that I’m ill equipped to go. What a wonderful thought that here is as good as there….that going isd just to accpt the mission to share God with whomever I encounter in the best way I can. I think your words might resonate with others in my church, most of which are my age or older. May I post it on our facebook page or share it aloud in church, giving you credit, of course?
Kingsley Peace says
Thank you, Holley. You’ve done a splendid job in remindering me of the fundamental truth of our christian journey – “your mission is wherever you are”. It is an inevitable truth. And also the same purpose for which Jesus commanded:
“19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)
This is the basic order issued to all believers, the children of God, to consistently work at until the return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.