I have a dirty little secret to share with you. I don’t know how else to say it, so I am just going to come out and spill it.
Missionaries can be incredibly competitive people.
If you were to take a peek into one of the get togethers that we have around here, where all the missionaries come in from the nether regions of Ethiopia where they are working to translate the bible, or to bring clean water to those in need, and you will invariably end up in a conversation about who has endured the longest water/power outage, or who’s vehicle is the oldest or has stranded them in the worst situation. (think riots, or deserts with no water for days walk in either direction)
I am not judging, in fact I am guilty of spreading my own worse-(or better)-than-thou horror stories. Stories that invariably will grow in depth and intensity when told to more seasoned and thus more intimidating peers.
I know, gasp… The horror! “Are you telling me that missionaries aren’t perfect?!”
Oh, get over it! We all need God and competitiveness creeps in to every corner of every task taken on by humans.
The reason I started my story here today is because I have been dwelling on one very awesome verse these past few days, and its giving me a whole new perspective on life, and the mission of serving God. (and challenging me in the area of always needing to have a better story, or better results)
It’s 1 Corinthians 15:58 and it says
“Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain for the Lord”
Read that again with me.
Think about what this text is saying and then apply it to your life, it’s huge. This changes everything.
What this verse is saying is that we should be a rock, a rock that is always and completely focused on the work of God, which speaks volumes, but what really hits me hard here is what is not being said, this verse does not say.
“Be amazing for God, suffer a ton, and do all the right things, and then you will get a lot accomplished and God will love you more”
No! It is saying that 100% of anything done for Him is good.
To me this verse clarifies God’s call on my life like the pruning of a tree, cutting away all of the results centered, competitive, selfishness, and replaces it with the pure simple goal of reaching for God in every action and trusting the results to Him.
It’s simple, glorious, and reaches into my soul and speaks peace, teaching me that it truly does not matter if my results look bigger than the next guys, or if my water was out for longer than yours. I do what I do for God, and he is the one who gets the glory, no matter how little or much you may be able to see on the surface as fruit of my labors.
One time the Apostle Paul was asked about how he was able to have so much peace, and his answer was “To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Basically he was saying, I am in a win-win situation here! If God wants me to live, than great I am going to live for Him. And if following him means I will loose my life, than than I get to be with Him for all of eternity.
Either way God wins! And I am in his boat.
I think the most powerful words anyone can say to someone else are these;
“I’m with you”
If feel in this passage that Jesus is saying to us that all we need to do is say “I’m with you” to Him, and he will take care of the rest.
My heart finds peace here.