I was in a meeting with some of our missionaries recently. It was an amazing group of people. We brought them together to see if there was a common thread in their ministries, so we might create a system that would use that common thread to be more effective in reaching our nation for Christ—which is our hope, our dream, and our mission.
One story sticks out in my mind from that meeting. One of our missionaries is a woman who has ten children, most of them adopted. They live incarnationally in an urban, ethnically diverse neighborhood. We were talking about the hassles of ministry and her big hassle was that the drug dealers on their street would set their water bottles on her car. That just bothered her. She talked about how she had to get over that, because it’s not that big a deal. But in moments of weakness and flesh, it becomes a really big deal to her.
I was sitting there thinking, “I don’t have any problems like that.” I have no drug dealers in my life. I have really good people in my life. I don’t have to spend 50 minutes looking for a parking spot and then the lady next door doesn’t want you to park there because of some unspoken rules in the neighborhood. I was so drawn to their commitment to live in that neighborhood, and the only reason they live there is that God has called them. So, they deal with issues I never have to deal with. They deal with issues that just seem scary. And God uses them in powerful ways.
It was really interesting to watch these missionaries affirm that a walk with Christ on the wild side where they live is hard, and messy, and it’s a battle. I have so much respect for them. I recognize there are many ways that our Lord uses people in different contexts, and that not everyone is called to that work. But everyone is called to be called. What I mean by that is that every Christian, every follower of Christ, has an anointed call on their life that they must live. Whether it’s being a teacher and spending time with students for the purpose of sharing the gospel through friendship, or working in a factory, or working in an office, or going to school, we have a call to be what God calls us to, in order to share the good news.