Yesterday, I returned home with my teammate Jeremy Smith and four Harding University interns from our survey trip. Each year we take the students with us to look at a nearby people group and consider with them a potential site where a mission team could serve. This year's trip was to visit the Mwani people who live along the coast. We took a boat to the island of Ibo and saw what is happening among that predominantly Muslim people group.
On Sunday, we spent time in worship and prayer asking God to bless the Mwani people. And as we sang together, I thought about the following quote, considering again the link between missions and worship.
"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever. Worship, therefore is the fuel and goal in missions." (John Piper, Let the Nations be Glad, p. 11)
A few years ago, the kids on our team and I studied the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin and lost son from Luke 15. Together we wrote another verse for the Doxology and our group here in Montepuez has sung it often to remind us of what we're really here for.
And as we worshiped together on the island of Ibo last Sunday we sang the Doxology. Later on an additional verse for it came to my mind. It connected for me more clearly how the praise due the Lord of creation and his longing to rescue humanity leads us to praise God and join Him in his work of re-creation. May we always hold tightly to the strong link that exists between missions and worship.
Grace and Peace,
(with additional verses by Alan Howell and Montepuez team kids)
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!
God loves to find lost people;
He looks for them everywhere;
And when He finds his children;
He throws a big party!
We'll go with God to every land;
And follow Him to farthest seas;
Till every tribe and tongue will sing;
Praise to our Lord - the Risen King!