I have never had an overwhelming desire to do foreign missions. I’ve never even done a short term missions trip. The Lord has provided so many opportunities for me right where I am that I’ve never felt that I was missing out on opportunities to share the love of Jesus with other people.
The fact of the matter is I’m surrounded by people every day who need the love and forgiveness of Jesus. I don’t need to get on a plane, train, or even a bus to meet them.
Staying is the New Going
A friend mentioned Staying is the New Going – Choosing to Love Where God Places You and I wanted to see what it had to say. I was curious if the author, Alan Briggs, had come to some of the same conclusions I’ve come to over the years regarding being faithful with what we’ve been given, even if it is just two talents.
Chronic illness and other daily challenges have made my world much smaller – even smaller than it used to be. But that doesn’t mean God can’t be working through me. I found myself nodding in agreement with this passage in the chapter “The Glory of the Mundane.”
The Bible has a list of stories of people who wanted to do anything but what was right in front of their faces. Moses didn’t want to face Pharaoh. Joseph was dubious about taking Mary as his wife. I can bet Judah wasn’t excited about living well in Babylon. Obedience is rarely easy, and faithfulness isn’t glorious. Would you line up on opening weekend to watch a movie about a single mom in a small Midwestern town who loved her kids well while working two jobs and faithfully serving a few people around her in the name of Jesus? That’s not the next box office hit, but that could be a life of legacy. It’s not glorious, but it brings glory to God.
God has given us only so much energy. This realization should lead us to careful boundaries and stewardship, but it can also lead us to an obsession with efficiency: we want every time we serve people to have a tangible impact, to demonstrate that we are “useful” for God. There isn’t a scorecard for faithfully abiding in places and relationships. We long to experience the beauty of spiritual banquets in the time it takes to serve up a Happy Meal. Something just doesn’t add up.
I have been on the journey of recalibrating my vision from immediate impact to longevity. There is nothing sexy about this shift. It takes constant commitment to remembering to keep faithfulness as the metric. It’s more about covenant than emotions, more about obedience than motion, more about my life being affected than effecting those around me. Ministering with Jesus is a descent into humility, not an ascent into influence.
Our task is not to have a massive impact. We want to change the world, but our true task is to be faithfully present long enough for Jesus to change the world through us. Jesus alone has the power to change hearts.