Here is just one of my reflections from this past summer of support-raising. We traveled through parts of Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas with God’s provision of protection, endurance and remarkable connections with new and old friends. The stories of His grace and lavish love in the lives of so many blessed us. We know Him more now than we did when we began our adventure!
Just outside of Dallas close to midnight, we were sitting in a driveway on couches with new friends, the sort we wished we had known our whole lives, the kind who pushes you forward when you didn’t even realize you are at a standstill. We had helped them set up their moving sale and our boys were asleep on another nearby couch, their legs and arms all tangled together. Kiersta finally ran out of energy and crashed to sleep on a bed. It was a strenuous, thickly hot and wonderful evening. We were all sweaty and our eyes were bloodshot but we were glad and contented.
As we talked, I confessed that this is the first year of my life I was given the peculiar title “missionary”. Synonyms for this word are “disciple, follower and messenger”. Noble words worthy enough to live out; they are what I’ve aspired to since I was a small girl. The implications are a lifestyle of constant learning, a willingness to go and of a desire to declare truth. Still, to be introduced here and there as “the missionaries” (full-time US based “Christian workers” who serve global missionaries) seems awkward and elite.
“Why is it,” I sighed, making a poor effort of articulating my inner conflict “that we can go about and be called ‘missionaries’ and solicit funds for our ‘ministry’ for 52 days, 4,500 miles? We know God has laid out this vision, clearly revealing to us this is the way we are to walk, but this support-raising is tough.”
Jason leaned back, crossed his arms like a wise man and responded, “You know people give to you and others not because of what you have done or will do. Works give validity to your faith but they don’t make you worthy to be a “missionary”. You can’t earn that title. Jesus gives it to you when He calls you. He has commanded you to do this for this time and if you don’t you are walking in disobedience. We believe in you because God does. We give because we love Him. Our giving is not based on what you or anyone else produces but on the Holy Spirit’s leading. This should be freeing for you! You can’t work for it, but you can pray for favor!”
Kristen nodded and then prayed for us like a woman in intimate and serious discussion with a head of state. Boulders came off my shoulders, dropping to the ground and rolling away in a fury like demons cast to hell. We are all worthy to live out everything Christ has beckoned us to and made us for because of His endorsement. When we follow Him, we must be willing to lay down everything, including our own sense of self-importance, fears and a need to know the outcome. I began to believe again what we’ve always held so firmly in our hearts and hope our children witness and adopt: if we are willing to love people, God will pour out His resources to bless our lives and our efforts.
Loving people freely is our best expression of our wild love for Him. The surest way to make ourselves poor is to not invest in the lives of others. Sometimes I beckon our children to stop and be still in a grocery store and look around at the man getting milk out of the refrigerator section and the woman weighing a pound of produce while her baby is screaming. I lean in and whisper, “They are all deeply loved, all magnificent creatures made for a purpose – to live in relationship with their Creator! We are all sacred”. I cannot stand the thought of people becoming mere landscape. But they do. I let it happen, you let it happen. The throb of humanity is too massive for us, but not for our God.
Nonetheless, we are all privileged to be called His “missionaries”, sent ones to the masses as well as to each other. Called to be learners of all that is good and true, followers of this Jesus who is the only One who can pilot our lives, and messengers of a gospel that is so profound it quenches the every thirst of the human soul and reunites us with the One who calls us all sacred.
You are loved.