Love and Compassion and Desire

Why do missions?  Is it merely because Christ commands us to ‘go’, and thus we must obey?  Is it because we are under orders of a sovereign God, so we must do as we are told?  Roland Allen, missionary thinker and prophet of a previous era, answers the why question in the following manner … 

Had the Lord not given any such command, had the Scriptures never contained such a form of words, … the obligation to preach the Gospel to all nations would not have been diminished by a single iota.  For the obligation depends not upon the letter, but upon the Spirit of Christ; not upon what He orders, but upon what He is, and the Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of Divine love and compassion and desire for souls astray from God (Missionary Principles, 1968, 31).

Almost the entirety of my mission formation centered around one text, Matthew 28:19-20, and thus, mission for me was one-dimensional and narrow.  The ‘Great Commission’ is certainly important, but it is not the whole.  Missions runs throughout Scripture from beginning to end, and it is at the heart of who God is.  We do missions not for one simple, narrow reason but for multiple reasons that are as broad as both testaments and as big as God.  We do missions because God through “divine love and compassion and desire” sought and redeemed humanity, and as those reconciled we now participate by grace in the same ministry of reconciliation.