If I were to ask you to name the greatest missionary who ever lived, who would it be? Some might respond with names such as William Carey, Jim Elliot, or Lottie Moon. Others may look further back to the first century and list Paul or Barnabas. While all of these folks were indeed great missionaries, there is one greater still. As Southern Baptists continue to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions throughout the month of December, I want to take some time to reflect on the greatest missionary of all, Jesus Christ.
In Philippians 2, Paul exhorts the Philippian believers to humbly look to the interests of others, and not their own interests. In doing so, they will be “of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (v. 2). He uses Jesus as the perfect example of this humility in verses 5-11, which gives us a glimpse into the mindset of the greatest missionary of all:
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11, ESV)
As we examine this text over the next few posts, I pray that the lessons we learn from Jesus’ example will encourage us to be even more faithful in praying for our missionaries, in giving to missions efforts such as the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Cooperative Program, and in living on mission for Him as we go about our daily lives!