– What Breaks Your Heart? –
One of the most frequent questions we are asked by visitors is,
“What is it like to be a missionary?”
To be a missionary is to pursue brokenness. It is first and foremost about love. Love in the context of a relationship with God and with each other. Everything we do is rooted in intimacy with Him and each other in Him. The greater the intimacy the greater our recognition of our dependence. Dependence on God is a to key success on the mission field. It is the understanding that apart from relationship, the words “love” and “God” are meaningless.
Sometimes the gospel is more effectively preached with a smile, a hug or a small act of kindness that leaves people with questions rather than answers to questions they never asked.
Being a missionary means understanding that preaching a sermon and cleaning a toilet might be one in the same.
Being a missionary means having set schedules that rarely pan out because like everyone else, missionaries are gifted and dysfunctional. It is understanding that the patience spoken of in James 1:4 is an end and not just a means.
Some days begin at 3 AM in the back of a pick-up truck on a muddy road in the rain and end at 10pm in the same. Others might start at 10 and end at 3. Sometimes we are hot, hungry thirsty and sick. Sometimes we are cool, relaxed and full of energy. Sometimes we have electricity and water. Sometimes we don’t. The periodic absence of first world comforts begets a greater sense of gratitude for the little comforts we once took for granted.
Being a missionary means not punching a time clock
or looking for one to punch.
It means not coveting Friday and a bigger paycheck. It means not working for the next vacation or retirement. It means not being afraid of being late or failing to perform. It means not being distracted by materialism, the latest styles or trends or the busyness of first world life. It means not being consumed by sports, politics and sewer-stream news.
It means keeping the eternal end in mind.
It is freedom from fear of suffering and the death that no one escapes.
Being a missionary means being willing to live in the desert, proverbial and literal rather than paradise.
Being a missionary means more than being a humanitarian.
It means honoring an old man or shaking a hand dripping with slime at the dump knowing that you can wash your hands, but he can’t and may die because of it.
It means traveling for an entire day to hug a suffering child.
It means paying attention to the little things, those who don’t matter to the world.
It means understanding the words of Mother Teresa,
“the most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.”
That these words apply to eternity.
That eternity apart from God is the quintessence of loneliness.
We can tell people ad infinitum that Jesus loves them, put on our best Jesus smile and our best Jesus act in hopes that they will see Jesus in us and raise their hand at an alter call. We can pat ourselves and each other on the back in celebration of decisions for Jesus on a given day.
But at the end of the day it’s about us seeing Jesus in them, “in the least of these” in the ONE in front of us.
It means staying in touch with what breaks God’s heart.
There is a reason that it is written twenty-three times in the New Testament that Jesus had compassion. Compassion (literally to suffer with) is the door to God’s heart. Knowing what breaks His heart is the key to intimacy with Him. Intimacy with Him is the path to joy in Him. Being a missionary is about joy. It is the freedom to follow the call of God we received as a fruit of our relationship with Him. It is a freedom that comes with the knowledge and understanding that if we delight ourselves in Him he will give us the desires of our Heart, of His heart. He has.