We were having a team dinner, preparing for a mission trip to India. Each of the seven of us had been able to serve overseas on short-term mission trips before. Every one of us was expectantly looking forward to what God had ahead. One team member said someone told him they would pray for him. As he thanked them, they went on to say, “that you will come to your senses and not go.”
We had a hard time understanding that thought process. Yes, some people are afraid to fly. While some embrace the thought of new, to others, the thought of anything unfamiliar is frightening. And that’s okay. People are afraid. God helps us overcome.
But to pray that someone won’t go support brothers and sisters in their work for Jesus – we couldn’t wrap our heads around that thought process. I still can’t.
And honestly, we really couldn’t quite understand anyone not wanting to go on at least one short-term mission trip.
Our partner addressed the unfamiliar. The uncomfortable.
“So what if you don’t have hot water or your electricity isn’t good. It’s just for two weeks.”
That really resonated with me.
I was reminded of 1 Peter 2:11 where we are called “sojourners and pilgrims.”
And of Hebrews 13:12-16 “So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood. So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore. For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.
“Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.” (NLT)
And I thought of Paul in prison. Singing.
He knew – it’s just for a few years.
Near the end of his life he told Timothy, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 1 Timothy 4:6-7
He endured. He ran well. He fought hard. He poured himself out for the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was beaten, imprisoned and stoned.
It’s just for a few years – “There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.”
Can I say that?
A short-term mission trip to stay in a comfortable bed, eat good food and serve with people I already know and dearly love isn’t sacrifice. They are the ones living sacrificial lives. It isn’t always a kind place to people who are sold out to Jesus. And my friends there are totally sold out to Jesus. They pour out their lives in service of the Master. Some of them literally.
But they get it. They know it is only for a few years.
Do you feel that passion? That call to live like we’re only here temporarily so discomforts don’t matter? If so, kneel with me, imploring God to utilize that intensity to add to His Kingdom.
If there is no yearing within, be bold enough to ask Him to give you a vision of now in the scope of eternity.
How can I pour myself out for the glory of the kingdom of God? What is my sacrifice of praise. Where can God use me today that will send me to bed tired tonight?
It’s just for a few years.