“Missions makes a horrible mistress!”
These were the final words of an instructor in the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course. I remember thinking: “How can missions be a mistress?” As my husband and I discussed the statement on the ride home, we came to the conclusion that a mistress is someone with whom you are unfaithful to a relationship. Therefore, if missions became someone’s mistress, then the individual must be placing their involvement in the mission field above their relationship with God.
This definition made it seem almost like an act of idolatry, which just seemed so counter-intuitive to the mission of those involved in missions. It just didn’t make sense. Yet, in 1 Corinthians 13, I believe we get an accurate picture of what this adulterous relationship with missions looks like. Take a look for yourself:
1 Corinthians 13 has become known as “The Love Chapter”. Primarily used in weddings to describe the love between man and wife, 1 Corinthians 13 has almost been written off as something romantic or fanciful. However, in this chapter, we learn so much about the love the Father has for us and the love that he would have us share with one another.
This type of love is not to be one of envy, anger, or pride, but a love of trust, hope, and perseverance. Yet, when we see the situation described in verse 3, we see a glimpse of pride. The person in this situation has given up everything–all they possess and all their comforts–so that they may boast about what they have done.
I believe this is one of the ways we can be unfaithful to God, whether it be in missions work or in our daily lives. When we do something in love, what we get out of it should be the last thing on our minds. Gifts given in true love are without pride, and gifts given with vain expectations are void of love.