For God shows no partiality
On Sunday, we had two missionaries visit our church and both of them spoke about the organization they work for, the mission trips they've been on and the miracles they've experienced. And I sat there and listened....and felt incredibly selfish and defensive.
I keep hearing these stories - of guys and girls my age who are dedicating their time and sometimes their entire lives to serve God in a third world country. You know what I did the last few years? I finished college. And that seems selfish in comparison.
Yes, in the last post on the topic, I wrote that we're all called to different ministries, and I still believe that. But, the thought that scares me is.... if those four years of college were my ministry at that time, did I do it justice? Or did my personal insecurities and ambitions keep me away from testifying and living a Godly life? Do I live the lifestyle of a missionary on an American college campus?
I fought against writing this blog post, because I want this space to inspiring and encouraging. But, at the end of the day, I also want it to be honest and sometimes reality isn't all that inspiring, because sometimes, we have to work through the ugly stuff that's stopping us from serving God freely.
And this is it for me: the battle between selfish ambitions and a life of service. It's a daily and life-long battle. And sometimes, it's quite ugly and painful.
On Friday, during our weekly girl's bible study, we discussed Colossians chapter 3 and one phrase stuck with me since then:
"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality." Colossians 3:23-25
So often we put missionaries and church leaders on another level - we justify some of our actions or lack of action on the fact that it's something reserved for people with a calling like our pastors and missionaries, not us ordinary people! As if somehow, they're a special breed.
But, according to this verse, God shows no partiality - we are all sinners before Him, undeserving of His grace or salvation. And we're all called to a life of serving and testifying His name. There are no tiers of Christians or a VIP list. We will all be judged by the same standards and Scriptures.
And that's what is worrying my heart. Not the fact that I'm not currently a missionary in Africa. But, the fact that my lifestyle, here, today, in the United States, is not that of a missionary; that I've taken selfish liberties with God's grace and well, let loose.
At this moment, I don't have the love and faith it requires to serve others all day, all night, 365 days a year. The kind of love that spills out in the way you talk, walk and look. A love that goes beyond poverty, crime and discomfort. And a faith that truly believes that with God, I can tell a mountain to move and it will.
And if I currently live such a blessed and full life with no immediate wants or dangers, and yet I still continue to complain and fall into bouts of envy and depression, then how can I serve and find joy when all these first world comforts are taken away?
I once heard another young missionary speak and he talked about how many people tell him that they're not ready yet to go into the mission field or that now is not the time. And his response is that none of us are ever ready. We're never at a point where we're completely fulfilled and perfect spiritually - it's something we should always be working on entire our lives. Ask any missionary and they'll be the first to say they are not equipped or good enough to do their job and that's the key - that humility and willingness to always grow and learn from God.
That's also where God works best - in our weaknesses and the dark valleys of our thoughts and lives.
My point is - this approach to life, it's not a missionary thing, it's a GOD thing. It's the way I should live here in little ol' Missouri or in a tent in Africa. It's the way I should think as a lawyer or a missionary. It's about living like Jesus did.
And that folks, leaves me lacking in so many ways. Pray for me, please? Because only God can transform my heart.