You learn something new every day. And today I heard this story of two Moravian missionaries to the West Indies. Here's a neat youtube video of someone preaching the story:
Now, I'm a missionary. We get patted on the back and thanked for what we do. And I'm ok with that because...what else am I going to do, slap people's hands away? We get put on a silly pedestal both in the US and in Guatemala because missionaries are...I don't even know. I guess people think we're special.
Well, we're not.
Those two young men who sold themselves into a lifetime of slavery, they are special. They are radical. They are the real deal. Jenny and I always say that if we didn't have kids (or at least little kids) that we would want to go somewhere the gospel is not. You know, out to the boonies where they speak in clicks. But what kind of faith is that? Really? I know that we have a responsibility to our family. I get that. I embrace that. I even fight for it. And we're not leaving Guatemala anytime soon because the Lord called us here and we have work to do. And that work is valuable - it's making disciples and serving the Body of Christ to help her be more healthy. I also understand that not everyone is called to that kind of sacrifice, to that kind of mission. I don't expect everyone to jump on a boat and sail to the outer reaches to preach the gospel where there are no roads or lights or Coca Colas. But shouldn't we expect a little more of one another?
Anyone who knows me very well knows I struggle with ups and downs. I struggle with doing too much or too little. I struggle with self-discipline. I get easily distracted. [squirrel!] and get off track, off task and out of whack. To think that these two men went to an island so that people who were truly slaves could know the Jesus who gives a freedom that none can take away makes me evaluate my life and ask myself, "What entangles me? What is of value? Am I really giving my life to Christ or just pretending?"
Paul tells us in Ephesians to be careful how we walk, not as unwise men (and women) but as wise. We are to redeem (or make the most of) our time because the days are evil. Do I really believe that? Because if I believe it, I ought live my life in a way that reflects that reality.
That story of the Moravians just makes me want to ask the Lord, "What else do you want me to do and how can I do what I'm doing better?" If to live is Christ and to die is gain, what does that actually look like? Does that mean I get to do whatever I want? No. Does it mean I get to live an amazing life in these few short years I walk by faith? Yes.
I fear for the future in the Americas. Not just in the US, but here in Guatemala. When Christianity becomes a product we analyze and sell and market and tweak instead of a reality we live we lose the whole point. When church becomes something we maintain instead of a community who loves a person and is chomping at the bit to tell the whole world about his love and how to walk with him we stop being disciples and just play church.
Whew. What a mind blowing day. Ok...I'm off to apply what I've learned before another squirrel derails me.