An opening disclaimer . . . I’m not writing this for you to pat me on the back. I’m not writing this to elicit your praise. I’m not writing this so you push me up on some pedestal. Of course, I’m not going to stop you–except for maybe the pedestal part. I tend to be a little less than graceful; balance is still a challenge at times–so, pedestals aren’t such a good idea either metaphorically or literally. But really, that’s not why I’m writing this. Really, truly. I’m writing to share how God is reminding me of truth.
I know why I do what I do. I love that God has given me a passion for serving his children who are around the world fishing for men and harvesting for eternity. I especially love that I get to work with kids. They’re pretty fantastic, and they don’t get hung up on policy. I love that what I do makes a difference for both time and eternity. But there are days when I lose sight of that.
There are days when I get bogged down in things like making too much of what I think others expect of me. There are other days when my printer’s failure to cooperate in printing pictures for birthday cards makes me feel like I’m the one who has failed again instead of the machine. There are days when I get caught in a comparison trap fueled by reading news in my alumni magazine. And then there are other days when I feel defeated by numbers—the ones in my inbox (I have 5 of them and they all have very big numbers of messages in them), the ones in my checking account, the ones on the scale. There are lots of things that will bog me down if I let them.
In the last few days God sent great reminders that obliterate (at least for the moment) all the things conspiring to turn my eyes away from my calling and the one who gave it to me. The first was yesterday’s sermon on the Beattitudes–specifically on being a peacemaker. The second was in an email from a WorldVenture missionary. Let me explain.
My thoughts on peacemakers have generally been full of people like Gandhi, Kissinger, and Carter–people using diplomacy to bring a state of peace to a conflicted nation or region. My pastor gave fresh understanding to Matthew 5:9 yesterday. He pointed out that peacemakers are those who go into a community of trouble to bring peace. It seems obvious, but it got my brain cranking to jump ahead of him to the conclusion that missionaries are peacemakers; they strive to bring peace between God and man.
One of his next statements hit me hard, peacemakers often get obliterated in the process. If this weren’t true, my department–what many call missionary care–wouldn’t be necessary. As a department we do some repair work with those who come in wounded, but more than that we equip them to go into communities of trouble with the resources they need. Specifically, I help them move in and out of those communities of trouble in ways that are healthy for the whole family. It’s a big deal.
I needed that reminder. I needed to see what I do from a fresh angle. I’m 99.9% sure Scott (my pastor) had no clue God would use this to speak directly to my somewhat discouraged heart. I love that God works this way.
My second reminder came in one of those oversized inboxes the other day, but I didn’t open it till this morning. The message was a newsletter from a WorldVenture missionary. I get a lot of them. I eventually read them, but once in a while there are more pressing things on my plate than a general update. The newsletter was fine and void of personal profound applications. The email it was attached to was a different story. It mainly consisted of one verse, Hebrews 6:10. “God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love for him by caring for other believers, as you still do.” I don’t know if anyone else needed to read that, but I did. It’s going on my bulletin board.
What has God reminded you of lately?
If you go here, you’ll be able to hear the sermon podcast once it’s up. Give it a few days.