For this purpose the Gospel has been preached

>> Monday, July 26, 2010

Hello all!

I was on a mission’s team that went down to Mexico in early January to serve for a week alongside eight others. One of my team mates, Daniel, is sharing at his church about the trip and asked if I would write down some of my thoughts concerning the trip and in retrospect. After writing it I thought that I would post it here for y’all so you could hear a portion of what the Lord has been teaching me lately. The below is by no means the full extent of what I learned and have been learning from the Mexico trip. It is only a small part, but it’s deeply impacted my life and I hope you will receive some blessing from it.

I could literally talk all day and into the night about the lessons I learned and things I experienced on what was my first short term missions trip. I’ll just stick to one theme though and hope that I can communicate clearly.

I think it’s really easy for people (Christians in particular) to separate their life and actions into different categories, the two most basic categories being the “holy” where all the actions are “Christian” (going to church, visiting the nursing home, writing your Grandmother, etc) and the normal category (school, housework, etc). But, for Christians, all things we do are to be done for the glory of God. I have to confess that I’m guilty of separating my life into different categories.

The trip to Mexico was an amazing experience for me in too many ways to mention here or now. Suffice it to say that I felt God’s presence powerfully virtually every minute of the trip, even when encountering sobering situations I had never encountered before. I felt that everything I did was positively confirmed by the Holy Spirit and the richness of that confirmation was truly incredible to feel. I knew then that when I returned home it would be difficult to maintain the spiritual “mountain top” I felt on the trip but by God’s grace I hoped to at least not crash and burn.

Thankfully, His grace has as always been sufficient to meet my needs and I can truthfully say that He has continued to evidence Himself to me in powerful and confirming ways. But, it would not be truthful of me to say that I usually feel the same level of confirmation in the daily and mundane tasks of life. I’ve thought much about this in trying to understand the heart of the matter - both the problem and the solution - in a way that cuts past the clichés and gives true understanding of my human condition.

As I’ve wrestled with the issue it has become abundantly clear that the answer is extremely simple. My actions and daily life are not confirmed because they are not dedicated. Because I am not doing things for the glory of God He is not confirming them through the Spirit. Shocking, no? Not really. I Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Likewise Colossians 3:17…“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Clearly, as Christians each of us is called to do all things for the glory of God, which, on a side note, should eliminate doing anything that clearly is dishonoring to God. But there is more to it than the simple command to do all things to His glory. I Peter 4:6 says, “For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

Doing things to God’s glory isn’t just about doing good things. It isn’t about not doing bad things. The Gospel transforms and renews our minds and hearts so that we “may live in the spirit according to the will of God.” All of our actions have Gospel significance even if we don’t always realize it and nothing less than the very purpose and glory of the Gospel hangs in the balance.

So, I guess if I could sum up the trip and the following lessons I learned from it into one focused lesson, I would say that I have a more mature understanding of the Gospel significance of all my actions great and small. Simply put, during the trip to Mexico, because I was there “for missions” my focus was on living out the Gospel, and God blessed that focus. The challenge for me is to keep that Gospel focus at all times throughout the day every day.

By God’s grace I pray I will be able to build on the lessons I was shown during the trip to Mexico and live my life to God’s glory so that He will confirm my life and actions for His glory and honor.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!


Doug and Rebecca July 27, 2010 at 10:47 AM  

Excellent. Excellent. Excellent.

I smile and praise God, Mark! That's why we host mission teams!!!

Recommended reading: A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God's Love

We're reading it together as a family right now. I wasn't too sure about it when we started, but it's very thought provoking.

Mark Hutchins July 27, 2010 at 12:17 PM  

Thanks for the recommendation! I love a good book. :-)

Also, if I haven't said this before, thank y'all so much for providing the opportunity to serve the Lord in Mexico! :-)

Alyssa C. July 30, 2010 at 8:55 AM  

Wow, thanks for sharing, Mark. I enjoyed reading your insights about your mission trip to Mexico. I can relate with what you're saying about maintaining the spiritual mountain top even when doing the everyday things in life.

This summer, I had my very first mission trip as well. I find it easy to be "spiritually high" when I'm doing hardcore work for the Lord, but when I'm back doing simple, everyday things, sometimes I just lose heart or become lax. Thanks for the reminder that everything we do must be done for the glory of God, whether big or small. :)

The Lord bless you!

Mark Hutchins July 30, 2010 at 9:49 AM  

Thank you, Alyssa! I'm happy that you were blessed by it. :-)

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