Everyday missionaries are called to such a unique, strange life that there is no way to explain it other than the massive change God has made in us. But here’s the catch: in order for people to see the gospel change in us we have to live out our mission in way that the people can see it. So when does everyday mission happen? When the people God sends us to see the choices we make.
1 Peter 2:11-12, “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
There are two extremes to Peter’s thoughts. Verse 11 reminds us that we’re foreigners and exiles, and as such calls us to abstain from sin. Some Christians read “abstain from sinful desires” as “abstain from being around anyone or anything ‘non-Christian’.” In verse 12 Peter disallows that removal mindset. Where does God call us to live out that holy life? Among the Gentiles. Rather than keeping faith huddled in holy ghettos, Peter calls Christians to live out in public, in the midst of those who don’t follow Jesus.
The other extreme we can slip into goes beyond living our faith among the Gentiles, to instead living LIKE the Gentiles. This extreme finds joy, hope, and satisfaction in the same things they do. This is just as dangerous a misinterpretation as the first: it overemphasizes grace and rejects obedience of his radical call. The two-sided principle in verses 11-12 encourages us to balance or hold in tension those extreme views.
Everyday mission happens when our goals, time, resources, decisions, and day-to-day lives functionally proclaim what we mentally affirm.