Be a Missionary: Serve All People, including the most broken around us?
Devotional Thought of the Day:
8 He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, 9 letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, 10 a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth. Ephesians 1:8-10 (MSG)
22 On the contrary, we cannot do without the parts of the body that seem to be weaker; 23 and those parts that we think aren’t worth very much are the ones which we treat with greater care; while the parts of the body which don’t look very nice are treated with special modesty, 24 which the more beautiful parts do not need. God himself has put the body together in such a way as to give greater honor to those parts that need it. 25 And so there is no division in the body, but all its different parts have the same concern for one another. 26 If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness. 1 Corinthians 12:22-26 (TEV)
“It’s easy to love the people who are standing hard and fast, pressing on to meet their higher calling.
But the one’s who might be struiggling? We tend to judge to harshly, and refuse to try and catch them when they’re falling.
We put people into boxes and draw our hard conclusions, and when they do the things we know they should not do we sometimes write them off as hopeless and we throw them to the dogs. Our compassion and forgiveness sometimes seem in short supply.” (1)
600 Serving and forming children, caring lovingly for the sick. To make ourselves understood by simple souls, we have to humble our intelligence; to understand poor sick people we have to humble our heart. In this way, on our knees in both intellect and body, it is easy to reach Jesus along that sure way of human wretchedness, of our own wretchedness. It will lead us to make ‘a nothing’ of ourselves in order to let God build on our nothingness. (2)
On my mail pile, and about to be in my discard pile is a small poster, challenging people to “become a missionary.” It saddens me in a way, because the it focuses mission somewhere “out there”. It is of course, and there are those God is calling to be a missionary in places that are far different, far more “extreme”. But it overlooks the fact that we are all missionaries, we are all “sent” as the apostles were, to take the gospel into places where only we go. To our families, to our neighborhood, to our work places.
We are missionaries when we determine to love those that are struggling, when we reach out to those that are falling, when we patiently work with them, helping them take each step, being there when they cannot. Being willing to look at their situation, their actions, their lives, not to condemn them, but to realize how much they need God’s love, and how they will have to be nursed back to spiritual health.
Make no mistake, ministering to the broken takes time and effort, patience and endurance, and mostly, trust in God. Know that God has given us all we need to minister to them, He has provided all that is needed to see them brought into His family. They are the ones to whom we are sent, even though the work may bend us over, and we feel like we will break. If not break, that we will lose our patience, succumb to frustration, or even despair.
Yet that is our calling, they aren’t just a mission field, they are the mission, they are the ones God has loved enough to send Jesus to die for, and to send us to serve, to minister to, to bring God’s love so that they can find healing.
Perhaps the challenge in doing so is that we have to confront our own brokenness, our own inability, our own failures. Indeed we must, for it is then we see the power of God at work in our healing, that leads us to the confidence that God desires that they, yes, even they, can come to know that healing. It is through our weakness, that we see the power of God unleashed, and trust Him enough to do what others see as impossible, There, in our humility, we find the very things they need, the mercy, the comfort, the peace, the love of God, who delights in making us His own.
SO do not fear, do not hide. cry out Lord Have Mercy, and go tho those He has sent you to, that they may learn the cry as well!
(1) from Celtic Daily Prayer, Harper One Publishing, pg. 307 (attributed to Chuck Firard)
(2) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2220-2224). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on January 7, 2014, in Devotions, Theology in Practice and tagged Apostle, apostolate, Apostolic, body, brokenness, Celtic Christianity, Ministry, Missional, Missionary, parts of the body, St. Josemaria Escriva, the least of these, wounded healers. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
I think our mission is where we are. God can take us far, like me, or He can keep us where we are. The important thing is to find our identity as Christians and our personal mission. If you know who you are and what you’re supposed to do, it’s much easier to accomplish it. And you can find divine joy in it.
Our mission as well, in view of our congregations mission – for they should be linked – and feed each other.