Friday, September 21, 2012

The Missionary

That was it.  As far as we could see these were our last days in Port-Au-Prince under the title of missionary.  This call seemed to have run its course.  We were mostly confused and burdened.  How could we have come with so much hope, excitement and expectation to be met with road block after road block and heart check after heart check.  It wasn't what we expected at all.  It felt more like we'd been treading in place for hours, days and months instead of productively moving forward.

A sense of productivity is very motivating.  My aunt had a ginormous garden and one summer it was my duty to pull these taller-than-me "horse weeds".  Before I started, it was difficult to see the plants hidden under the serious infestation of weeds.  One morning I started pulling, one row at a time...grabbing the base of the plant and pulling with all of my might.  Sometimes I'd plop back as the roots gave way from the earth.  Bam.  Then, get up and go again.  Row after row.  Hour after hour.  Even though I was totally worn out it was super motivating to look back at the finished rows.  Every time I stopped to appreciate how far I'd come there would be a new dose of motivation.  The unfinished rows weren't so daunting.  Who knew this experience would prove to serve me many times later?  A side note about these ordinary tasks in life...they often prove to be more educating than classroom study.  God uses every event and specializes in the ho-hum ordinaries to serve the greater.

Our hearts were wondering, "What, Lord, is all of this about?  We have to be totally missing something?"  The rigid season of wrestling and praying continued.  We were worn out.  There was not a "clean row" to motivate our efforts to press on.

Just when we kinda threw our hands up and surrendered,"I give up.  We give up.  I'm clueless.  This seems to be a finished event in our life."  The Lord intervened.  He had been there the whole time.  We knew His silent presence.  He was working and we see that better now, a few months after the fact, than we did then.

One morning we woke up.  It's like the light bulb went on, the fog lifted, fresh air invaded, clear understanding began to flow.  The treading was finished.  The burden eased.   He spoke.  "Your idea of "missionary" needs to die.  Your idea of serving needs to change.  It is not what you DO but WHO you are in Me.  It's not about you.  Are you willing to faithfully follow Me and enjoy Me...even, here in Haiti?  Are you willing to let Me define your ministry as we go along?  Are you willing to see poverty as it really is (broken relationship with God, self and others) first and foremost, or are you going to let the material poverty define your efforts to love and serve in this place?  Are you going to trust Me and fear Me above all else or are you going to let the 'fear of man' or the 'fear of supporters' determine how you live and what you do?"

We saw clearly that we had made missions and being a missionary so man-centered, so effort focused...  He simplified it all for us that morning.  Joy began to fill us up again.  Joy in Him gave way to joyful obedience to live for Him where He placed us.

As we made our way up the mountain a new perspective was setting in.  Driving past the many people on the street Jason remarked,"This is such a freeing perspective.  I'm seeing these people not as subjects to the project of ending poverty but as souls.  They are people and their biggest need isn't so much material goods but restoration.  Like me, they need to know their purpose - to worship God.  They were made to know, glorify and enjoy God forever.  We were created for Himself.  This is our greatest need."
"This realization of our election by God is the most joyful on earth, and we must learn to rely on this tremendous creative purpose of God." -chambers
We had made our call to be something other than what God intends it to be.  The call of every missionary is to be God's servant where ever He places him.
"We must continually keep our soul open to the fact of God's creative purpose, and never confuse or cloud it with our own intentions.  If we do, God will have to force our intentions aside no matter how much it may hurt." -chambers
It's this idea of being dependent on Him (loving, knowing and enjoying Him); being faithful to follow Him as He leads.  He will direct our steps.  He will give us things to do.
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10
 BUT "good works" are not the main objective.
"Now the Lord says, who formed Me from the womb to be His servant..."  Isaiah 49:5
"A missionary is created for the purpose of being God's servant, one in whom God is glorified." -chambers
The missionary can't forget God's purpose for their life or the purpose for the lives of those around them.
"The entire human race was created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." -chambers
And so this is the beginning of our ministry: Chief End Ministries exists to encourage others to glorify God and enjoy Him forever!  That can work itself out in a variety of ways but only if we're lined up with His purposes for us and enjoying Him!  Onward we go with much renewed energy and joy for the journey!

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