Saturday, October 14, 2006

We're on a Mission from God!

So said the Blues Brothers many years ago, but my spiritual siblings and I are serious.

The idea in our heads is only this: We want to grow in Christ. We want the maturity that has been available to us from the beginning but which we have turned down for far lesser things. We want to be empowered by an obedient heart to not only make right choices, but also to serve in this world the way God intends. We are learning that obedience begets obedience more and more joyful in hope.

This is why we want to envision our presence in the world as a mission trip. We know that we are here only temporarily and that we are commanded to spread the Word. Does that not sound like a mission trip? We know that heaven is our true home, and that, when the mission is over, we shall go to our home (I can't quite say return).

As an example, on a mission trip in 2005, all of our time was devoted to God. We had so little time for distractions and temptations and were happily committed to this level of devotion. We want this to be our modus operandi everywhere, all the time.

We asked, "How can we make our everyday lives more like a mission trip". Our interest is not in changing the appearance of our lives, but in changing their substance. In order to answer, we recalled our activities on missions in other countries like teaching & preaching (both formally and informally), prayer walking, and visiting the homes of believers and praying for them, and Evangelistic Bible study, which has begun. We were also reminded of the practice found not only on the mission field of 'praying on the spot' when asked for prayer. Why pass up such an opportunity for fellowship in the Spirit? We are preparing ourselves with a mind-set for seizing opportunities to do these things.

There are challenges of course, and we discussed them at length. They consist primarily in the necessity of mundane tasks (likely boring, stressful, or both), isolation, and the various and sundry distractions not present in less prosperous regions of the planet.

We resolved to remember that, as the 'tent-makers' we must be, we work at our respective jobs in order to support our missions. If we lived in a far away land, we would likely work in some capacity, either to justify our presence in less than open countries or to provide support for ourselves or both.

Not only so, but I have recently been reminded from a number of different sources in a short period of time that work is ordained by God, it gives him glory, and in our culture the opportunity to performed skilled labor and those who engaged in it were more respected and sought after than celebrity and wealth are now. By these reminders and their chronological proximity, I conclude that God is, in his way, reminding me of the truth that work is part of his plan for history and, as such, it need not be shunned, but embraced.

We resolved also to support each other by talking every day on the phone when talking in person is not possible. With the technology available to us, there can be no involuntary isolation. We have the ability to easily communicate and, in so doing, encourage and remind one another of our mission. We are committed to it.

We are still stumbling through this, trying to figure it out and to remember and implement what we think we've learned. But the very simple act of thinking in these terms has had a tremendous impact. We have more hope and joy in even the most trivial of activities that we must endure because we see now what has always been true, even these trifles are part of our mission that lead us to and contributes to the success of the more exciting parts. We also see all kinds of distractions and temptations more clearly as the hindrances they are, and more easily resist them. It is no exaggeration to say, though imperfect in our persistence, we each have our chin up and a spring in our step.

However, there have been challenges, and interestingly they have varied according to our weaknesses. One has struggled because he has been overwhelmed with assigned work and associated deadlines, another has been, quite the opposite, inebriated with leisure. All the more reason we must continue to be consistent to "spur one another on".

The Lord willing, we shall.

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