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Monday, June 13, 2011

Mission Trip To Alabama

"What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy; and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

“If you are not prepared to be used, you are not prepared to serve.” This is what I tell members of my church all the time. It’s my way of helping them progress past the point of asking questions that are not conducive to helping others. It is my way of answering the question “What if they use the money to buy beer”. It is my way of answering the question “What if they are lying and don’t really have a need”. It is my way of answering the question “How do we make sure they really do what they say they are going to do as a result of us helping them”. Now, I don’t want you to think I am a mean pastor. I just don’t like to see my friends focus on things that are not important. I would rather they spend that time in service to others.

Day one of our mission trip to Alabama was pretty much standard for mission trips. There was a lot of trying to get organized. There was lot of trying to set rules and expectations. There was a lot of getting to know one another. And, surprisingly, there was a little work. And, as we returned from helping a family clear debris from their property, I heard a team leader complaining that “they have a pool” and “looks like they are pretty well off.” The team member then went on to suggest that we should try to find someone who “needed our help more”. I was shocked. I was appalled. I was taken aback. I could not believe that I had actually had the same thoughts myself. I was disappointed in myself. I had actually suggested in my mind that you have to be poor or needy to warrant people helping you. It was almost as if I needed to know that the people “really” needed my help in order to validate my helping. I was what I had warned others from becoming. I was so focused on what I needed from my act of service (a good feeling of being needed), that I forgot why I was supposed to be serving in the first place. I am ashamed to admit this. I am ashamed that I lost my focus. I am ashamed to admit that I was not what I expect my friends to be… willing to be used. I pray the Creator will forgive me for this, and allow me to recommit myself to the total service of others; all others. So, tomorrow I will return to complete my service to the kingdom, and rejoice in the gift that God has already given me; a better picture of me.

I love you. And, there is nothing you can do about it.

PJ