Mission in Discouraging Times

Andrew Reid, speaking by video recording from Spain, focused our thoughts on two verses from the Old Testament book of Malachi:

“OH, THAT ONE OF YOU WOULD SHUT THE TEMPLE DOORS, SO THAT YOU WOULD NOT LIGHT USELESS FIRES ON MY ALTAR! I AM NOT PLEASED WITH YOU,” SAYS THE LORD ALMIGHTY, “AND I WILL ACCEPT NO OFFERING FROM YOUR HANDS. MY NAME WILL BE GREAT AMONG THE NATIONS, FROM WHERE THE SUN RISES TO WHERE IT SETS. IN EVERY PLACE INCENSE AND PURE OFFERINGS WILL BE BROUGHT TO ME, BECAUSE MY NAME WILL BE GREAT AMONG THE NATIONS,” SAYS THE LORD ALMIGHTY"

Malachi 1:10-11

The situation in Malachi’s day was one of discouragement – difficulty, apathy, corruption, doom and gloom. The people of God could recall what God had done in the past but, in the present, where was He? In this context God says to the people through His prophet:

“MY NAME WILL BE GREAT AMONG THE NATIONS, FROM WHERE THE SUN RISES TO WHERE IT SETS.”

Malachi 1:11

Andrew pointed out 4 things we should notice from these verses:


1. How big God’s plan has always been
God’s people were discouraged because they had forgotten this. The whole Bible is missional – mission is the backbone of Scripture. God’s plan takes in the whole of our humanity, transforming our home, social and work relationships. In addition, God has always been concerned for every people group on earth: He speaks every language and His revelation translates into all languages and cultures.


2. How much our lives matter
Malachi conveys a very strong displeasure of God with His people:

“I AM NOT PLEASED WITH YOU,” SAYS THE LORD ALMIGHTY, “AND I WILL ACCEPT NO OFFERING FROM YOUR HANDS.”

Malachi 1:10

The lives of the people in Malachi’s time dishonoured God; they had turned in on themselves and essentially they were making His Name small. Why does it matter how we live? Why do we need as Christians to make His Name great? There are two reasons: because He deserves it and because all nations need to hear of His greatness.


3. How little God needs us
God is often at work stirring spiritual hunger in human hearts without our involvement. Andrew gave some examples of this from his mission experience, especially since the pandemic. God’s plan is not limited by what we are doing. And yet…


4. How amazing it is that God should want to use us
If God needed perfect people to use, there wouldn’t be a long line of candidates! Andrew cited a striking Spanish phrase:

GOD CAN WRITE STRAIGHT WITH CROOKED PENCILS

God in His grace invites us to join in with His grand plans and He invites us to live for His glory. He has made it even easier for us to make His Name great among the nations as so many people from the neediest countries on earth migrate to us these days.

  • Thank God that we are all called to be part of His plan.
  • Consider what changes we need to make so that we will live to make His Name great among the nations.
Dorothy McMillan

Dorothy McMillan

I’m Dorothy and I coordinate the Deep Dives part of the WBC website. I’ve been a member of WBC for over 25 years and have worked as a teacher, playgroup leader and college lecturer. Now that I have retired, I enjoy doing patchwork, reading and spending time with our four wonderful grandchildren.
Dorothy McMillan
I’m Dorothy and I coordinate the Deep Dives part of the WBC website. I’ve been a member of WBC for over 25 years and have worked as a teacher, playgroup leader and college lecturer. Now that I have retired, I enjoy doing patchwork, reading and spending time with our four wonderful grandchildren.