One of My Biggest Fears in Missions
One of my biggest fears in Missions:
That the very people to whom we minister would have lived a life passionately seeking Christ (albeit without money) if we had not come in and told them that their career and their possessions were more important.
Let me tell you why I am writing this blog right now and then what one of my biggest fears is with doing ministry in a different country. I have been studying 1 & 2 Corinthians recently, and there is a verse, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, that says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...For Christ's sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak then I am strong."
I am writing this blog because there are quite a few times throughout the book of Corinthians, and throughout the Bible in general, that we are told to be content in Christ. This has nothing to do with settling or being lazy and it has nothing to do with poverty or riches. Our contentment in Christ means that nothing else can fulfill us...Nothing.
American culture and even "American Christianity" teaches us something far different. In our culture, success and happiness is determined by what we have, for instance:
- A good job that makes good money.
- A good education.
- The right friends.
- A big house in a nice neighborhood.
- A car that shows our station in life.
- The right extra-curricular activities and hobbies.
Without those things and more, contentment for many people in America cannot be found. When our contentment is in things, there will always be more things. Think about where you find the most fulfillment in life. In a culture like ours, is there a more difficult concept than being content with what we have and where we are in life? The truth is, the Bible tells us to not only be content with what we have and where we are in life, but it tells us to be content in weakness, in poverty, and in humility.
- When I am weak, I am strong.
- Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
- GOD's power is made perfect in our weakness.
One of my biggest fears about doing ministry in Haiti is that I am going to teach our kids and others with whom I have influence in that country that they can find joy and be content in things other than Jesus Christ. I am so conditioned to equate a person's possessions and position with blessing that I am afraid I will do the same thing to my children and to our kids in Haiti.
What if the very people to whom we minister would live a life passionately seeking Christ (albeit without money) if I had not come in and told them that their career and their possessions were more important. Of course I would not purposefully do this, but what if I do this with my life and with what I emphasize?
I believe that the biggest physical need in Haiti is job creation. I believe that our kids need a good education. But do I push those things at the expense of teaching our kids that Christ is everything or do I push those things as a way for GOD to get the glory?
In American culture, I see all of the time that parents push sports and education on their children at the expense of a relationship with Christ. I see children in turn grow up believing that, while church is good, sports and school are more important. I see adults focus on their career and financial standing at the expense of their relationship with Christ. I see churches consistently push numbers and money at the expense of prayerfully and passionately seeking Christ.
What if I bring this mindset to our children. What if my American "sensibilities" are so ingrained that I cannot help but push our kids to seek after something other than Christ? What if I accidentally teach them that their relationship with Christ can be compartmentalized with the other things that they pursue.
I tell myself all of the time that I will never do that with my kids or with my ministry, and yet it is still one of the most difficult things to reconcile. How do we teach our children that the pursuit of Christ is everything, but that they should value education, family, and jobs within that pursuit?
This is not an indictment on all churches or all people in America or in Haiti. Every culture has blind spots and it is important to understand what they are and how to fight against them.
Join me in praying that our contentment will always be found in Christ, no matter what their situation is. Pray that we can help to change the situation of our kids at All Things New, but much more importantly pray that we we help them pursue Christ even if their situation remains the same.