One Coin, Two Sides

I’ve been mulling this one over for a while. I think I told someone today that this blog was “about to explode out of me.” I hope it’s been aged appropriately, but here goes.

There is one issue that I’m beginning to think is the biggest problem facing missions, missionaries, and potential missionaries alike. Romanticism of missions. This idealized, Hollywood version image that is conjured up when someone says anything about missions. Images of poor little orphans with swollen bellies being helped by a food handout. Images of any one of six thousand other cliches. They may all be true in some sense but they aren’t typical experience that almost all missionaries have. ┬áLet me be clear from the start. I’m not Mother Teresa. I never will be. I’m not Elizabeth Elliot. I never will be. I am me.


Take me off that stupid pedestal. I don’t want to be there. It’s so hard to have a genuine friendship whenever the scales are unbalanced. It’s even harder when it’s assumed that I’m something special in the spiritual world because I merely moved to do ministry. Sure it was hard. I’m not going to take that away from myself or anyone else who has done this. However, I’m not a martyr for the cause.

Let’s be honest, some people who do local ministry deserve the respect as much, or likely, even more. Some people who don’t even vocationally do ministry deserve it more too. I could name several in my life, but I know they wouldn’t like it! Truly, take everyone down off that pedestal. No one should be there except Christ. It’s not meant for humans. Either the pressure is too much, you only get to see a fake veneer placed to maintain the image, or they actually start to believe they deserve to be there. This last one is the main sign that you DON’T deserve to be there. I learned the pedestal lesson a little early in life with a youth minister that turned out to be a tragic situation and that still gives me a little bit heartbreak 20 years later. We’re all humans in need of the same amount of salvation and grace no matter what our occupation may be.


Let’s revisit the romanticism aspect from another angle. If you are considering missions, don’t be fooled that a new environment will make you into a spiritual spartan. If you didn’t read your Bible before, you won’t now. If you don’t share your faith in your daily “ordinary” life, you won’t when it matters most in your new home. If you have issues, it doesn’t matter how many suitcases you bring, those issues will be in there somewhere too.

God calls people to missions because they are the right person for the right time and the right place. He doesn’t necessarily call them because He has groomed them to be a perfect Christian that will blossom as soon as their feet hit foreign soil. It just so happens that you are what He needs for here and now. It really isn’t about you to begin with. It’s about Him. If there are things at home that aren’t going well and you see that they will magically all be better when you can save someone somewhere else in the world, then missions isn’t for you. You forgot the first rule. It’s not about you. Those things that weren’t great at home, they won’t be great here either.

I know and work with some wonderful people who have sacrificed a lot and who are being the right person, at the right place for now. They love God. They love their work. They love the people. But they are still people themselves. Just like me. Another sinner in search of grace. I’m happy to be walking this journey. I love how God is growing me and showing me so much more of the world and the people He created. Let’s all remember we are all created by Him, each created in His image, and each on an equal line as far as from our Christly example as another.


One Response to “One Coin, Two Sides”

  1. tawanda says:

    Wow God bless you.

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