Mon., Oct. 29, 2018
3 John 1:6 – They have told the church about your love. They say you were good enough to welcome them and to send them on their mission in a way that God’s servants deserve.
I have a quick little exercise for you to perform. Willing to try? It will only take a minute.
Good. Here are the instructions.
Either grab a map or think of the geographical area where you live. Think of a community 30 miles to the east of where you live. Now, 30 miles west. How about 30 miles north as well as 30 miles south?
Draw an imaginary, or real if using a map, circle connecting those communities. Look at all the of the communities, towns and people who live in this area. Can you think of a family who might have a need? Is this need something you can help with?
When I was in seminary, I remember a professor teaching about mission work. He understood the need for people to go significant distances or live in a different area for awhile to do mission work. Yet, he was a proponent of doing things locally as well. He defined “mission” work this way: anything at least 30 miles from your house. His explanation of “mission” work in this context made such an impression on me that I shared this with Hubby Rick.
Throughout our marriage, Rick and I have been involved in a wide variety of “mission” work. We have traveled long distances with other people. We have chaperoned youth mission trips, so youth can develop an appreciation for what they have and foster a sense of helping others. And yes, we have participated in many 30-mileish “mission” trips.
Recently, Rick and I prioritized a day-long “mission” project. It was about 45 miles from home. So, according to my seminary professor, it qualified as “mission” work. Actually, we traveled to Rick’s son’s house and helped him with specific projects. Rick worked on installing a window in the basement. I worked on a huge project in the basement. Rick’s son asked if Rick could do the window. We decided it would be a good project to do together, knowing there were opportunities for me to serve as well.
We appreciate long-distance mission trips. Yet, we also value and prioritize local “mission” projects. Sometimes, it seems silly to travel two days on a bus when there are lots of local opportunities to serve. Our local “mission” projects have covered the gamut. Sometimes, it’s a repair or construction project. Cutting wood, doing yardwork or helping in a garden. Sometimes it’s cleaning, sorting and organizing. Maybe it’s taking food and simply listening.
This time, we were asked to do this “mission” project. Often, we are asked. Other times, we volunteer. We accept these projects because we can serve God, our neighbors and model our faith. These projects aren’t glamorous. f our time and abilities can serve another member of God’s kingdom, it’s a win for them and us.
Think again of the geographic area in the 60-mile radius from where you live. Is there someone that could be a “mission” project? How could you serve them? Are they willing to accept help? When are you be able to set aside time and carry out your “mission” project?
The 30-mile distance from your home isn’t magical or necessary. Rick and I have experienced lots of “mission” project opportunities much less than 30 miles. Does a shorter distance disqualify them as “mission” projects? Absolutely not. “Mission” work has less to do with distance and more about a person’s willingness to serve someone else and God in tandem.
We can get so caught up in our own “projects” that we fail to see beyond our needs and observe someone else’s needs. Every time we perform a “mission” project, I discover someone about myself or learn something new. I see these as clear opportunities for God to mold and shape me. I am always richer for the experience.
Rick and I appreciate doing these projects together when we can. “Mission” projects are great family activities. Everyone can serve your neighbor and God together while create lasting family memories.
We put in a long day on our “mission” project at Rick’s son. When we arrived home, we were tired and dirty. Yet, we had a sense of accomplishment. Rick’s son appreciated our work and the jobs accomplished.
There are great benefits in going away on a mission trip. Yet, there are also opportunities to help someone closer to home. When Rick and I enter these opportunities with the attitude that we are doing “mission” work, it changes our approach. Yes, we do our very best. But we are also aware that a “mission” attitude removes the project’s work from what we are doing to how we are serving God.
I pray you will discover a “mission” project soon within your community.
For opportunities to serve God through “mission’ projects, I am grateful.
Almighty God – thank you for the people who have serve us on a “mission” project. I pray you will bring forth another mission opportunity for us to serve soon. Amen.
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