Tuesday, October 02, 2007

awakening needed

Hey, fellow Christian, I have a suggestion: Don’t ask people for money if you haven’t spoken to them more than once in the past five years.


If you had just written me a letter to say that you and your 12-year-old son were going to Colombia on a short-term missions trip, I’d be all over it. I’d be excited beyond words at the adventure that awaits you and the broadening perspective you’ll find and bring back to your church. I’d tell you how going on a short-term missions trip in college changed my life and started me on a spiritual journey far beyond the safely righteous experience of evangelicalism. I’d give my full, unqualified support for what you’re doing.


 Instead, I get a letter ― and not even a letter that was addressed to me personally, but an e-mail you sent to a couple dozen other people as well, all at the same time ― full of spiritual words about the Word of God, and how many millions of people are starving for that Word, and what an exciting opportunity it is for us to be involved in the work of the Lord by helping you get to Colombia.


May God forgive me for the times I have done this very thing.


You’re absolutely right: The fields are ripe unto harvest. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few, and I don’t begrudge you the opportunity to go work in the fields for a few weeks and see how far before these overtended fields in Iowa the harvest really goes. Ninety-five percent of all Christian ministry is done here in the United States, to 5 percent of the world’s population.


But if you want people to be a part of your “ministry” ― and don’t kid yourself, in a two-week trip God’s doing to do more to transform your life than he’s going to do to transform Colombia ― you’ll need to relearn a fundamental truth about the Kingdom of God that we’ve lost, not just here in Iowa but in all America, and probably throughout the West: It’s the people who count.


If you can’t make the effort to reach out to individual people, one on one, and share with them why you’re making this trip; if you can’t make a personal connection and pass the time with people, giving them a little of yourself before you ask them for financial support; if you can’t remember that the only convincing evidence for the gospel is that way people’s lives are set on fire by love for one another … then you don’t need money.


You need a new awakening yourself.

1 comment:

rev_mom said...

so what happened with your thyroid? I googled "no one dies of thyroid cancer" and you're the only one that came up.