The sixth post in a series on defining success for a missionary. Part 1 demonstrated that we, like Paul, can be confident in our ministry, despite all our detractors and critics. In Part 2, we saw in 2 Corinthians that Paul repeats the phrase “commend ourselves,” to identify key criteria that he uses to demonstrate that his ministry is credible and successful. In the third, fourth and fifth posts, we looked more closely at Paul’s criteria of successful ministry, that of clearly proclaiming the Gospel, seeing lives changed by God’s power through our ministry, and joyfully enduring hardships in ministry.
Who gets to hear “Well done”?We all want Christ to say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” when we stand before him. But few of us spend much time thinking deeply about what “well done” actually means for us as missionaries. What do we need to be doing in order to receive Christ’s commendation? Some might protest that the question about “doing” clashes with the concept of grace. But Paul says in 2 Cor 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” There will be a judgment of works for believers, and according to 1 Cor 3:12-15, the quality of our participation (or lack of participation) in the building of Christ’s church is definitely subject to this judgment.So if we don’t take the time to think what Christ might be expecting of us, how else do we determine whether we are a “good missionary”? What are some of the definitions of success that we live by? Maybe recognizing some of these inadequate definitions will be just as helpful as studying the Pauline definitions of his success as a missionary.