“Why?” It’s a question 3-year-old’s ask about everything.
“Why?” It’s a question adults ask when trouble comes.
“Why?” It’s a good question to ask ourselves.
I signed up to go on a mission trip to Kenya this summer with World Hope. I am familiar with World Hope and their trips to Kenya. Several in our church have been going there on mission since 2014. I never planned to go, to be honest. When my beloved and I returned from a trip to Poland in 2004, I said I would never, ever cross the ocean again. It was just too far!
When the short-term missionaries came home and talked of Kenya and all the great work being done there, especially in the slums, I was thrilled for them. I had prayed as they served, sent notes of encouragement, and celebrated their return. But, I never, ever planned to go. It was just too far.
Now, after much prayer and eating several meals of crow, I’m all in! Woohoo!
In preparation for the trip, I received an email from the team leader with lots of attachments. Several documents needed to be completed. It was all important stuff. I know about World Hope, but they don’t know about me.
In the passel of papers, there was a Mission Trip Registration Agreement, which included a health profile. That made sense, but took forever. There was a Code of Conduct, which made sense, too. Then, I found the Travel Application. I listed my personal info and from there it got complicated. On the application, was a “Skills, Talents and Interests” section. Holy Smokes! I listed my professional training, skills and abilities. Then I gave my talents, gifts, and hobbies. That was tough to figure out. A small note at the bottom read, “Please know that no matter what your talent or gift, we can use you.” Whew! Good to know! I also completed a Spiritual Profile. It outlined my salvation experience and how I serve at my church.
The final sheet was a “Vision Casting Exercise”. ITS purpose was to help me find MY purpose for going on the trip. There were four questions. The first question was, “Why do you believe God is leading you to go on this mission trip?” That’s a GREAT question to ask! Another was what I hoped to accomplish. I had to consider each one for quite a while, finally answering with lots of words that no one will ever read. (It was for personal reflection.) The ACT took less time!
Days later, that first question has me asking “Why?” about all the other things I do on a regular basis. “Why do I believe God has led me to _________?” and I filled in each blank. “Why do I teach children’s church?” “Why do I do jail ministry?” “Why do I write a column each week?” and so on. Do I serve because I have to or because I want to? Do I want to make ME famous or GOD famous? Deep thinking at the Reed household! It is causing me to make a mission statement, of sorts, for myself. It’s nothing brilliant or wordsmith-y, nor something that will be quoted ‘til kingdom come, but a short creed for me as I serve the Lord.
Let me ask you…Why do you do the things you do? Do you serve because you KNOW God called you to it and you LOVE it? Or…do you serve because you got stuck there? No one else would do it, so you stepped up? Do you serve where you do because you felt guilty, but not called? Do you do what you do because people expect it and you’re afraid they will think less of you if you don’t do it?
I am easily enthused and have taken on things in the past because I had had too much caffeine! That put me in roles I hadn’t been called to do-not even for a minute! Not a good place to be!
When Jesus called the disciples to follow Him, they didn’t have to fill out all manner of paperwork. He cast the vision and they followed. Each one was different, that’s for sure, but God used them in crazy cool ways! He used their talents, skills and gifts to change the world. The same is true for us! God has plans to use us to reach the world with the gospel-if we are willing.
Jesus Himself said, “…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem (your town), and in all Judea (your state) and Samaria (your country) and to the ends of the earth (wherever you think is too far),” (Acts1:8).
Where you think is “too far” doesn’t have to be across the ocean. It can be across the yard or street. You’ll know exactly where it is.
Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor's wife in Prestonsburg. Reach her at email@example.com.