A few months ago I heard about a revolutionary new concept called vicarious dieting. It goes something like this: you watch what you eat and exercise faithfully and I lose weight. That sounds good to me, if only it were possible. The word vicarious refers to something that one person does for another. Christians know the term vicarious atonement; that while we were yet sinners Jesus died in our place that we might have life in Him. Jesus did what we could not do so that we might be justified before God. We believe in the vicarious atonement, but not vicarious dieting.
I share the term vicarious because I am increasingly concerned that we may have an outbreak of vicarious missions at Community Church. Follow me here.
This Sunday Joe and Stephania Hunziker from Isola Roccia ministry in Italy will be coming to share with us about their ministry. Our church has always been very welcoming to missionaries. I remember one missions Sunday when the bulletin cover quoted Isaiah 52:7 "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!”Using that verse to promote a missions conference gives the mistaken idea that hearing about what folks like the Hunzikers, or the Harts, or the Cones, or the Halls are doing is the good news and that we will have fulfilled our responsibility to reach out simply by listening to them.
Let me be clear: there is NO such thing as vicarious missions. The person with the beautiful feet in Isaiah 53:7 is YOU! It’s me!. God has given all of His children the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." ( Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-18 )
We have been commissioned as ambassadors for Christ. We’ve been given the good news of the Gospel. Our mission field might not be Italy, or Asia, or Africa, but Union County is quickly filling up with Hispanics from South and Central America, Russians, Chinese and Koreans, and many, many more. I think Paul put it best in Romans 10:14-15.
"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
You have beautiful feet. Bring the good news to the people around you. Proclaim peace with God. That’s your mission and your privilege.
Think about that!