A few weeks ago, my husband and I traveled to North Africa with the Manuel’s and Brian Zimmerman. This week, my mom returned from her second jaunt to Haiti with the Long Hollow Women. Both trips were full of relationships. Both were challenging physically in their own ways.
Both were wonderful trips. Both were heavy trips.
With all of this going on, Missions Sunday has been weighing heavily on my heart. Growing up, I did some mission work, but I was unaware of things like “Mission Sunday.” I was not around a lot of adult missionaries. I am so grateful to be a part of a church body that endeavors to fulfill the Great Commission through its members. Not all churches do that.
How amazing to think of all the wonderful things that Long Hollow is doing. There are wonderful things that Christians are doing all over the world, really. I think of T. and J. in North Africa—dropped in the Muslim world but not knowing what it all necessarily means. I think of D. and C., raising many children in a Muslim culture and organizing and leading numerous efforts in the region. I think of Dou Dou in Haiti, who leaves his family for days and days to help bring our teams together with need for the glory of God. I think of Pastor Dony and chicken farms and dirt runways. I think of latrines and mosquito nets and bottled water in Uganda. I think of families selling everything and moving across the world to Vietnam with three small children. I think of French sports camps and inner city church plants and eventually—India.
It’s a lot of information. It’s a lot of moving parts. It’s amazing.
The enemy would love to take all of this activity and turn us on our heads with the sin of pride. Pride in what we’ve done. Pride in what we’ve given. Pride in what we’ve given up. Pride in how “Christian” we’ve been—how well we’ve worn the clothes, walked the walk, and talked the talk. How dirty we’ve gotten and how many dirty people we’ve been around.
Sometimes I think the church can get so caught up in doing something big for God that we forget what makes it all profitable for the kingdom in the first place: HE IS THERE.
God recently used 1 Thessalonians 1-2 to get my attention. In that passage, Paul and his missionary “team” are writing to the church at Thessalonica—a place they had come and gone. Their hearts were ever mindful of the people there.
In reflecting on why their mission in Thessalonica was successful, Paul wrote: “[O]ur gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction….” They recognized that it was not their good works that did anything. It was that HE WAS THERE. It was that God made the mission successful because He was at the center.
1 Thessalonians 2 demonstrates that their mission was gentle, devoted, relationship-based, and humble. It was all about walking in a manner worthy of the God who called them into His own kingdom and glory. They viewed themselves as “entrusted with the gospel” speaking for “God who examines our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). It was not about seeking glory from the people they served or from those who heard of their service.
As we head into the next five years of impact as a Church family, my prayer is that we will remember to seek and follow God rather than busyness for the kingdom or accolades from our peers or those outside the church. I pray we will remember God examines our hearts, even when we are doing and saying all the “right things.”
Will you join me in this Missions Mindset?