We each have been given a high calling. Whether we are a missionary overseas, a missionary in the states, a missionary to our families, a missionary to our friends, a missionary to strangers, a missionary to estranged relatives, a missionary at home or a missionary at work, we are all called to be missionaries.
There is, all too often, a false dichotomy that exists within our Christian circles that declares "missions" to be overseas in some distant location with a set prescribed team of husband/wife couples and maybe a token single. Being a missionary to the down and out is often seen as the highest calling upon a person's life. It is esteemed, respected, and even revered. Ninety-nine percent of the time it is funded and financially supported by individuals and churches. Is there a problem with this kind of missions? No. Of course not. I have many, many friends who are living and serving the LORD overseas and I am immensely proud of them. They are financially supported because they have made the gospel their life's work. AH! But there is the problem!
This is where the dichotomy exists. It is thought that overseas missionaries make the gospel their life's work and the rest of everyone else, well, doesn't. But this should be the farthest thing from the truth that exists! We should all be making the gospel our life's work whether we go overseas or live in a two story "American dream" white picket fenced house with 2.5 children. This is where the disparity comes in. No matter what you may say, the missionary is lauded and the white picket fence family is not. Often, within our churches, the white picket fence family is looked down upon in favor of the overseas missionary, even if that is not stated in so many words and regardless of the fact that 99% of the American church lives in one of some kind.
The great commission we often point to in support of overseas missions tells us to first go where? Our own neighborhoods! If we are not engaging in ministry right where we are, why should we think we will if we move overseas? Traveling to another country isn't a magic "easy" button that makes everything work. Living overseas can be the hardest thing you'll ever do. That heart of ministry needs to already be at work wherever you are in order for it to work overseas. And this brings me back to my original point. Why this dichotomy? Why distain the high calling of the white picket fence family? Let me give you a point to dwell upon. For some people, God has CALLED them to live a white picket fence life! We cannot possibly look at what the Lord has called one family or person to do and distain it in favor of what He has called another to do. Because in doing so we not only distain the family that is following the Lord's will for their lives, but we are distaining the very One who called them to live that way in the first place.