Missions Are For Me

With our new lifestyle I sometimes am the one who stays at home, cooks, cleans, and does the housekeeping duties. It really has taught me a lot. I remember thinking a lot of the things Tara did were silly. For example, why does it matter to turn the clothes right side out? I thought about that one today as I washed a load of our boys’ clothes. You know that not one of their shirts was right side out.


Even when I first grew my hair out I began to understand more about Tara. I used to scoff at her when she would say it was too late for her to take a shower. I thought to myself, “Just take a 5 minute shower and crawl in bed.” Well, I learned that long hair means a lot of wet hair that doesn’t do well if you go straight to bed from a shower. And drying long, thick hair means a lot of work and time. So, if you are really tired, showering sounds like a royal pain. But, until I experienced that I had no clue and simply thought my wife was lazy.


And yesterday, while Tara was away at work and I was at home, I failed to get done half of what I thought I would get done. Why? Because there were a lot of little details along the way that kept distracting me, many of which would have been unnecessary with a little forethought, front-end work, etc. – The kinds of things I used to think were silly. How many times did I come home from work, survey what I thought had been done on the house, and quickly make a judgment that Tara had been lazy all day? And all the while much of what prevented her from getting more done was my inattention to things while I was at home, whether it was leaving out my toothbrush, pulling up my covers, or whatever. Oh if I could only have so many of those days back to love her, appreciate her, and let her know how much I enjoyed how she worked so hard!


As we go through life experiences and interaction with others, God wants to speak to us and teach us. He wants to show us how to love. God Himself came to this earth and encountered us as a human. It’s Jesus’ example and the things I am learning now that reinforce my desire to go even more often cross-culturally on international mission trips and to lead others to do the same. My love for Tara has grown as I have stepped into her shoes. And my love for other people groups grew geometrically as I spent days and nights in their cultures. In fact, I am not sure I could have ever understood God’s heart for people like I am beginning to understand now without allowing Him to take me to new places, do new things, and walk a few miles in other people’s shoes.


Perhaps that is why from the very beginning God told His people to fill the earth and to go to new lands that He will show us.


God, the One who created us, understands our nature and how difficult it is for us to comprehend others’ needs until we share them. Look at how He spoke through Ezekiel:


The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.


“Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house.


Ezekiel 12:1-3. We see Ezekiel demonstrating what it would be like to be in exile. God hopes the people will understand. But, as God knew, they wouldn’t until they were taken into exile themselves. And it definitely changed the Israelites to experience exile.


Christians everywhere need to go, as God commanded. Go, taste, see, feel, understand another culture. Let the experiences of your life expand your heart for others. Start where you are, stepping into your spouse’s shoes from time to time, your employer’s, your teacher’s, your pastor’s, your neighbor’s, and the shoes of the homeless man or hungry child in the other part of town – just as Jesus stepped into each of our shoes. From there begin to step out into other worlds – further away. From Jerusalem, to Samaria, to Judea, to the utter ends of the earth… Go!

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