The Different Reasons We Get Involved


Motives are very important.

In fact, they are the driving force behind most of what we do in life. Examining them and dealing with them honestly are a major factor in our self-understanding and preparation for service.

So what are your motives? Why do you want to be a missionary?

Be sure to consider both your religious and nonreligious motives for going as a missionary.

Non-Religious Motives

If we are honest, we will admit that all of us have mixed motives. Nonreligious motives contribute to the decision to go on a mission. This is not necessarily bad. It is normal human nature.

Non-Religious Motives Many Missionaries Have Had:

  • Desire to travel
  • Boredom—want some adventure
  • A break from school or work
  • Curiosity or desire to experience other cultures
  • Desire to learn a language
  • Career or job considerations
  • Family tradition
  • Decision or wish of a parent, friend, or spouse
  • Recruited/sold on the idea
  • Escape from a difficult situation

Four Religious Motives

In addition to these non-religious reasons, however, the Bible does give some directly religious motives for mission.

Love for Christ

In 2 Corinthians 5:14 Paul says that the love of Christ is what compelled him to go.

And when Jesus set His own disciples apart for service, He first called them to Himself (Mark 3:13) after they had come to Him, then He sent them out on their mission.

Coming to Christ first and being filled with His love becomes our greatest motive for going out in service.

The need of people

Matthew 9:37, 38 says that “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

This is still true today.

Even today over two billion people in the world can only be reached by the gospel if someone is willing to cross cultural boundaries to teach them.

At the same time, less than 15 percent of Christian workers focus on this group of people without Christ. The song is right, “People Need the Lord.”


The commands of Jesus

“If you love me, keep my commandments,” Jesus said in John 15:15.

When we hear this, many of us think first of all of the Ten Commandments.

That’s okay, but are those the only commandments Jesus could have meant?

What about the “commandment” to mission in the Great Commission? And what about the “great commandment” to love one another?

If we truly love our brothers and sisters around the world, we will want to share the Good News of salvation with them, won’t we?

Mission plays a crucial part in saving people

Our going out really does make a difference in people’s lives.

“Hearing” helps bring people to salvation (Romans 1:14, 15) as well as giving them a “more abundant life” in the here and now (John 10:10).

God sometimes saves people without our help, but His basic plan calls for our cooperation.

Your Turn

Do you thin it is important to pay attention to our motives? If yes, why?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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10 thoughts on “The Different Reasons We Get Involved”

  1. It’s very essential to pay attention to one’s motive(s) for mission. This is because when the non-religious motives become the driving force behind mission, selfishness will prevail and the goal of mission defeated. But when the religious motives are the driving force, the missionary will be constrained by the love
    of Christ and at same time achieving the goal of mission. Although it may not be all that easy to totally eliminate the non-religious motives, however with the help of the Holy Spirit, the presence of Christ’s love in a person’s heart, and love for dying souls, one can be driven to go for mission by the religious motives.

    1. Thank you for a well articulated description of how we can be inspired by the Lord for mission. Very well said.

  2. Pingback: What Keeps a Missionary Going in a Time of Crisis? - Institute of World Mission

  3. Priscilla Natukunda

    I think it is really very important too. Examining our motives closely is an intrinsic motivator that initiates in us a desire to act or not to act depending.
    Thank you for this post. I will take time to prayerfully access my motives for mission today in preparation for mission. God bless you

  4. Emilia Vanessa Cruz

    I also think that it’s important for us to understand our motives. It’s great to read and learn which motives should guide us in our missiom work. Personally I’ve had a rough time during this pandemic and found out that God with all of his love was the only one who made feel better. I think that is my main purpose, I love Jesus and I feel the need to tell my story and share that he is the reason I’m better now.

    Thanks for the post!

    1. Mildred Castillo

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Yes, the love we have for Jesus is the basis of us sharing our story with others, so they can love Him too. May God continue to bless you as you continue to share your story!

  5. Well my motive s mostly to surrender and trust God with His call (spiritual reason) – whilst also dong all that is humanely possible to have my economic and social needs accommodated as a family man. My goal s for a medium to long-term mission where our family can serve God and fellow humans whilst learning to wholly trusting and depending on God for all our needs and sustenance. IWM support and guidance would be valuable to me and my family on navigating the way forward.

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