Talking with a worker who regularly invites volunteer teams to his city, I asked, “What do you have the volunteers do?”
“I don’t have them do anything,” he replied. “And I don’t call them volunteers because they are just as called as we are. They are missionaries just like us, and I invite them over to walk alongside us for a week. It’s not about what they do but it’s about who they are.”
This seems to be the theme for the week: missions, actually all of Christianity, isn’t about what we do but about who we are. I struggle with this idea because since I was 13 years old I knew that I was called to serve overseas as a missionary, and I often experience frustration when I think about how far I am from that vision. Worse, I don’t even know how to “do missions” where I currently live. I’ve been observing and learning from a particular worker who is trying to teach me what missions is really about. A few weeks ago I asked him, “How do you intentionally be a missionary when you’re living in the US in a culture that stays busy?” His response: “You do it as you go.”
So, perhaps more than anything else this week, I am learning that missions isn’t something you do only when you carry the title “missionary” or when you’re paid to be a full-time missionary. Missions is a heart attitude that seeks to be Jesus among whoever I am around -- whether I am in the gas station or a restaurant, at work or at church.
The second lesson I’ve learned this week is that just because it doesn’t appear like I’m on the path toward my goal to serve overseas doesn’t mean I’m wasting time. And no matter what hurdles appear to be blocking my path, God is able to do all things to fulfill His plan for my life.