Something that has come up in conversations countless times—whether I’m speaking with students, staff, or alumni—is the bubble of NTBI. It is a fantastic environment to grow in because you are surrounded by people who are as passionate about the Word of God as you are; and the teachers are always willing to explain their points, with students always willing to discuss the truths they’re learning in class.
While I currently work in order to pay for school, for the first several months I didn’t need to work, so I only existed inside the protective shell of NTBI, Scripture and Bible Commentaries. When I did finally find a job it was jarring to go from Christ-focused interactions to interactions with people that only seem to care about this temporary life. They don’t seem concerned about lost people in the world; they even consider the idea of travelling somewhere with the primary intent of telling people about Jesus laughable. I considered their endless pursuit of happiness in the form of money and alcohol foolishness, but I had never considered the idea that they might consider my goal of mission work to be foolish.
My mind went to Psalm 100 where it states that God made us and we are the sheep in His pasture, or one of the countless other passages reminding us that the Lord is our shepherd. I’ve been placed in a particular fold, surrounded by other sheep as we learn about our Shepherd. We are cleansed and protected by Him, but there are many outside these walls that are vulnerable and wandering with no idea of which voice to follow. Some even consider the sheep that follow the Shepherd to be silly; yet that in no way diminishes their need for Him.
In the end I realized that while it is great to be surrounded by so many Christians, I can’t get caught up in “being a missionary someday.” I can’t be so focused on growing that I miss the opportunities to plant seeds in others’ lives. “Someday being a missionary” won’t show my coworkers who Christ is, but my time with them now gives me opportunity to help them understand their need for Him. They need to know the Gospel message, just as the tribal groups in Papua New Guinea do, and I am here now. “Someday” is today.