Sometimes we forget that we do what we do because of people. Establishing mission is important. Believing in a cause is crucial, but when it comes down to it we’ll grow tired and weary if we don’t focus on the “him and her” behind what we do.
I have a passion to help teen moms, but what keeps me going is sitting around the table with a handful of young women and seeing their nods as they hear how to be better moms–seeing their eyes brighten when they feel valued.
John and I moved to Little Rock and joined FamilyLife because we believe in marriage and family, but the personal testimonies we receive via email every week, concerning people whose marriages were saved, keeps us steady on days when we miss far-off family and friends.
We attend a multi-ethnic, multi-economic church because we believe that the body of Christ on earth includes people of all color and backgrounds. We want to worship “on earth” as we’ll worship “in heaven.” But it’s not about a cause. It’s about our friends, our brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s about seeing God in new ways through the eyes of someone from a culture not my own, and loving someone who is different but also wonderful.
We volunteer in children’s church every week. We know that the future church is currently wearing baseball caps and pony tails. The mission of tomorrow is worthy. The mission of tomorrow is experienced today in a noisy, sweaty, excited, happy classroom. Knowing our teaching will plant seeds in small hearts is cool, but hearing Joel or Kimmy or Hannah remember that Esau forgave his brother Jacob (and that they too should forgive) is what it’s all about.
I love researching and writing and sharing stories, but when I’d rather watch a movie than sit at my computer, I think about that reader who at the end of a long day wants to escape into a good book. I think about her friend too–who may not be a Christian–but will pick up a novel because she hears it’s a great read. That inspires me to sit down and spill my heart onto the page.
I am one who is prone to desire gold stars and kudos. I like being like. I appreciate the idea of Facebook friends and Twitter followers, but not because of the numbers themselves. Those numbers represent people. Sure maybe a quarter of my followers may be spammers (I hope not that many, but perhaps it’s true). About half of the rest of those followers might not read my posts. Another third may tune me out. But there are real people on the other side of the computer screen who DO read my comment, and if a Scripture I share encourages them … hurrah! If one of my goof-ups brightens their day with a smile, then I’m smiling, too.
When it comes to World War II, there are hundreds and thousands of stories. If I were to travel the United States with my digital voice recorder I could spend all day listening to moving retellings, and I still wouldn’t hear everything worth hearing. But God gave me a gift by introducing me to Charlie and Tony and Chet and Mac and John. I’ll continue to connect with those guys–I’ll continue to listen–as long as they’re around to share.
I agree with the mission of homeschooling. I want to make sure my beliefs are passed down and my influence matters in my kids’ life … but laughing and chatting about economics or 1812 or weather patterns with my son–and seeing him growing to love learning and not just cramming for the next test–makes the time and effort worth it.
I want to obey Jesus when He tells me to care for the widows, but obedience to me means one widow, with very real needs. I know we need to care for “them” but for me … at this moment … what it’s really about is Grandma.
In this world there are millions of children without a mom or a dad, but God didn’t ask me to care for millions. He gave me the gift of one little girl. In my current season, loving her with everything in me means changing diapers and reading the same story over and over, and picking up toys, and having a tag-along on date night … and she’s worth it.
Life isn’t so much about what we believe in or what we feel called to. It’s about knowing the call only matters because of the people who are changed by our presence, our influence, and our love.