When you announce to family and friends that you are quitting your jobs, selling your home and most possessions to follow God’s leading in the Dominican Republic – you get some looks! You also get lots of questions, some asked and some not asked. One question that I always enjoyed was “What will you miss?”.
I would give this question so much thought, the analytical part of my personality would work it through over and over. There are some obvious things that jump to the surface; family, church, friends, Chick-Fil-A. Of course, there’s our 2 adult children, both in college, I knew they would be dearly missed. These are obvious. But then there would definitely be other less apparent things, I just needed to think about it long enough to narrow it down. What will you miss?
Well I’m going to be honest, I finally settled on two things, first there was our bed. I know, I can imagine what you’re thinking, really dude, your bed? Let me explain…a few years ago, ever since my wife (yes she’s petite and yes she sometimes thinks it’s funny to give me a jump out scare surprise) well, she pulled my lower back ever so slightly. All I can say is that the old back has never been the same since. (No, I’m not blaming her- I did add the “old” description in there.) So, I’ve seen the ads and heard all the commercials about the importance of a quality mattress. To me all of it was just a bunch of hype to pry open my wallet and suck it dry. A mattress is just a mattress, they are all the same. If you’ve laid on one, you’ve laid on ’em all.
Boy oh boy, I could have not been more wrong. So we invested in the new mattress. It was a game changer. Literally, I went from waking up nightly in pain, to sleeping through the night. Then, fast forward to when we sold the majority of what we owned, the mattress was definitely a keeper. Thankfully we have been able to keep it back in Ohio with my loving in-laws.
I promise there’s a point to all this. Again, what will you miss? Definitely the dishwasher. You talk about an underappreciated household appliance. As I’m working on this blog at the kitchen table, there’s a pile of dishes right in front of me, calling to me, saying please clean me. Oh how I wish I could open the shiny metal door and make it all disappear; simply put the dirty dishes inside, drop in a cleaning tablet, close the door, push the start button, maybe go crazy and use the extra hot setting, then walk away and listen to the sweet sweet hum of that 87 decibel cleaning beast!
God is definitely teaching us truths, especially involving a new country, new culture, new people, new language and a new virus. In our ministry, it would be so much easier to drop in a magic tablet and push a button to see the results we want to see. Get everything to absolute comfort and ease. But ministry, regardless of where it happens, is all about the long game. As God’s people on earth, we must be prepared to pour ourselves into the lives of those around us without the assurance of a simple, maybe even clean process. God is always working- working to grasp those that don’t know Him and working in each believer through the Holy Spirit. Although salvation is immediate, transformation and growth may not be instantaneous. When we interact with people with different backgrounds and experiences we must remember that it will often take more time than we think to build trust and relationships. Jesus spent 3 -1/2 years with a group of guys that believed in the Messiah, saw His miracles, listened to His teaching, watched Him living life first hand and still struggled to connect the dots. All I’m saying is that there is no short cut to meaningful involvement in the lives of those living around us, we must be willing to invest time with people, just as Jesus modeled for His disciples and for us.
Here’s the question we were asked again, but with a twist. If you don’t take the time to invest yourself in the lives of people who don’t know Jesus, what will you miss?
It will likely be difficult, at times you may even ask yourself what you’re doing, maybe ask why am I doing it, but through it all God will be faithful. We believe it’s absolutely worth it and God will grow you through it.
Dios te bendiga, God bless you!