Love and Missions: A Question of Motivation

Love and Missions: A Question of Motivation

Author - Luis Mostacero, Mission Worker

Author Bio:

Luis Mostacero is originally from Peru. He served on board the OM Ship Logos 2 for two years, where he met his French wife Anne-Laure. They have two teenagers, who were born in Spain, where Luis and Anne-Laure served as missionaries helping with church planting in Murcia. He was the General Coordinator of GLO Peru, where they also served helping in the development of a Bible Institute. He also worked as general coordinator of SEMIPE, the Peruvian missionary service. At the moment, he is studying at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.

Twenty-five years ago, I left my home country to become a cross-cultural missionary on the Operation Mobilization Ship Logos 2. It was exciting to share the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ with people from many countries. My heart was full of joy. I felt motivated by love for God and His work. Yet now, I wonder. Was I motivated by a love for missions? Or was I motivated to do missions out of love? There’s a huge difference. What motivates me now? Whether you are a beginning missionary or a veteran, do you wonder about your motivation? How can we do what’s right? I think God shows us.

God is on a mission. His motivation is two fold. First, there is His love for the world (John 3:16). And second, there is His love for His disciples (love that’s reciprocal). “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).  His love motivates us to love Him and others. Our love is a living illustration of the gospel. “By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

Jesus ties our obedience to our love for Him. “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15).  Jesus obeyed the Father. His sacrificial obedience led Him all the way to the cross. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:17). Obeying Christ’s commands is part of the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28:18-20). God sent His Son — out of love. And Jesus sends His disciples to do missions — out of love.

But God’s people have not always followed the obedient, loving example of Christ. Paul wrote about this, “It is true some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry… out of selfish ambition, not sincerely” (Phil. 1:15-17). What about us? Let’s examine our own hearts and repent of any sinful hidden motives: such as competing, self-promotion, counting achievements or converts. As we learn to love and serve God and our neighbour these wrong desires will fade away.

The only long-term solution for the humanity’s self-destruction is God’s love.

To God, our motivation is more important than obedience. The Pharisees obeyed the law, but their hearts remained disobedient. They didn’t obey God out of love. Paul recognized love as the motivating reason to carry out God’s purposes for the church: “others out of goodwill do so out of love” (Phil. 1:15b-16a). When he wrote to the Corinthians, he urged them to remember what they have forgotten and overlooked — love. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels…. If I give all I possess to the poor… but do not have love, I am nothing, I gain nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-3). They had almost everything. But without love they missed — everything!

Whatever we do: pray for the persecuted church, do social work for the poor, support missionaries – we need to do it out of love. As missionaries, whatever we do, from mastering a foreign language to proclaiming the gospel, to refining our homiletic skills – may our motivation be love. How can we grow to love like this?

It starts by loving God and His Word more and preaching the gospel to ourselves. Paul wrote: “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Who were we before we accepted Christ? Take time to think about these serious questions: Why did God sacrifice His Son for sinners? Why does He still redeem people?

What else will help us grow in love? Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ more. John says, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar” (1 John 4:20). Loving them means, as we see their weaknesses, we also discover ours. It’s like looking in a mirror. God helps us deal with what we see as we rely on Him to help us love. He helps us love people — our church family — and the lost.

Let’s never forget — the most important loving action is to share the gospel of Christ with this perishing world. The only long-term solution for the humanity’s self-destruction is God’s love. Even now, as I study at seminary, I see the Lord working in my heart to weed out my selfish ambitions and to correct my love for missions. He’s replacing them with a strong conviction and deep motivation to do missions — out of love. Through God’s power and grace, we can all share the gospel and serve Christ — out of love.

Welcome to the joint blog of Echoes International and GLO. Sharing the thoughts and experiences from experts in mission across the world, we aim to examine the issues facing mission today, and challenge existing views about cross-cultural mission.

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