Make each day a 'fragrant offering'

Whether you’re fresh off the boat in Kenya or anywhere else

Anna Radkovic arrived in Watamu, Kenya, four months ago to work with A Rocha Kenya, a local Christian conservation organisation, in partnership with the Church Missionary Society and the Anglican Church of Kenya. She will learn language and culture for the next three years, while building strong relationships and worshipping the Lord in the Kenyan style.

I’m not sure I can give you a good description of a typical day in the life of a missionary. I’m so fresh off the boat that I haven’t figured out what a typical day looks like. But I suspect, apart from an “exotic” context, my typical day looks much like your typical day: waking up, getting ready for the day, doing the things I’m responsible for, household chores, a bit of downtime and bed. We’re all people, right? We all have to do people things.

The fun thing about being a missionary is that we get to spend our time on something we believe is worth doing. What others have to push to the margins or scrape together spare energy to do, we get to do full-time. We don’t have to worry about our career, making lots of money or living our best Instagram lives – no one becomes a missionary because it will give them their best life. And maybe, those things aren’t that great anyway. Do we really need those bigger barns?

Anna Radkovic and new friends in Kenya.

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Choosing the mission life is a massive side step in the path we’re put on in life. It’s choosing a different framework. It’s deciding that the things we’re told by the world that we should want – comfort, wealth, prosperity, happiness – are fine in their own way, but how much better is living our best life, giving our best life, to God. It seeks to follow Abel and offer the fattest lambs first. It’s seeing that undeserved suffering is worth the undeserved grace. It understands that Job never understood the reasons for his pain, yet chose to bow in humble adoration before a majestic God. It’s knowing that to live is Christ and to die is gain. It’s knowing Christ. And because we, the church, think Christ is worth knowing, missionaries get the privilege of being resourced to live this full time.

I want to be the person who chooses a different path to the one the world has set out.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not the perfect person I just described. I am very new to this missionary life. As I said, I’m fresh off the boat and I have no idea what I’m doing. I am working all this out. I’m not delivering high-impact, sophisticated, impressive ministry targets. I don’t know the best ways to help people in Watamu discover that Jesus is the best thing that has or will ever happen to this world, and they should devote their lives to following him. I’m still figuring out the best place to buy toilet paper! But I want to be the person who chooses a different path to the one the world has set out for me to follow. I want to be like Abel, not Cain. I want to offer God the best that I have. All I have comes from him anyway, so it doesn’t make sense to keep it from him. The life I have is a gift; what a joy it is to live a grateful life.

And we’re all missionaries in this sense, aren’t we? We can all live grateful lives in humble adoration of our majestic God. We don’t have to change geography to offer God the best we have. He has given us what we have and we offer the best of it back because we love him. Because he is worth far better than the best we have. Abel offered fat sheep; I am privileged enough to offer my time; others have money, education, influence, hospitality, etc … There are as many ways of thanking God as there are people on this earth and moments in a day. We are all people, living our people lives. Waking up, doing things, eating meals, talking to people. How will this day and every one after it be our best day of knowing, loving, pleasing, praising, serving and living for Christ’s glory? Come, Lord Jesus.

Friends, I am so grateful to get to present our offerings to our God together with you all. May even our typical days be a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice pleasing to him. And may the fragrance of our offerings bring the sweet smell of life to a world in bondage to death, that they may also know and love Jesus Christ as Lord.