Monday, March 12, 2012

Motives (The Post That Survived)

"Mis-sio-nary (noun): someone who leaves their family for a short time, so that others may be with their families for Eternity."

This is a plaque I saw for sale at a local thrift store, and it got me fired up.

It was more than an editor's reaction to the incorrect possessive pronoun (the first "their" should be "his").

I mean... "Leaves family"?  "Short time"??  (Yes, I just used double punctuation.  I feel strongly about this.)

So I drafted three different posts in response.

But the first was far too snarky, the second was chock full of nauseating righteous indignation, and the third was both extremely boring and embarrassingly juvenile.

Thus, I'll cut down the commentary.

If you're a Latter-day Saint, you may not understand what my problem is with this definition.  That's okay.  I would rather spend the time on more crucial definitions, like "grace" or "saved".

And if you're a Christian...  Oh, dear Christian.

There are over 50,000 missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints currently serving around the world.  They do this, at least ostensibly, "so that others may be with their families for eternity."

May I ask: what drives you to participate in missions (pray, give and/or go)?  Is it a biblical motivation?    

Lord, lay waste to our pride, our pretenses, our fears, our mindless habits, our feelings of obligation, our faulty concepts of success—and all other wrong motives as we seek to live the Great Commission.

This is why I keep returning to II Corinthians for a realignment of my motives:
Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 
He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.


  1. Yes'mam...good thoughts. Actually, my thoughts exactly. Ambassadors do not choose their duty, yet they can choose to be neglectful. I will be praying for KEY radio and its ministries.
    Jason Pilgrim 2Samuel 22:33

  2. Thanks, Jason. That "ambassadors" sentence is very quotable.

  3. I believe the word "their" rather than "his" was chosen because both men and women can be missionaries.

  4. I'm sure that's the reason, Anonymous. The sisters will thank you for speaking up for them. But, although usage is changing, a singular antecedent with a plural pronoun is still incorrect. Popular, but incorrect. Proper grammar allows for one of three wordings when both genders are included:
    1. "Missionary: someone who leaves his family..."
    2. "Missionary: someone who leaves his or her family..."
    3. "Missionaries: those who leave their families..."

    But I'll be the first to admit this error has crept into my own speech at times. As in: "Grammarian: someone who annoys other people with their picky grammar."

    Thanks for reading and commenting.


Your turn. What do you think?