Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Angst, Humility and Trust

Support Team Building, Ministry Team Development, People Raising, Fund Raising--whatever you want to call it--has been the topic of a couple of conversations for me lately. I guess that’s part of being a missionary, you have conversations about stuff no one else really thinks about. But every year about this time I start getting stressed out. We're coming up on Christmas. I'm supposed to be jolly and focused on the 'reason for the season,' but all I feel is anxiety and a bit of awkwardness. We’re getting to the end of the budget year. I should do a ‘year-end ask’ to make sure there will be something in the account at the end of the year, but it’s a huge fight in my mind to make this happen. Can’t I just enjoy kids coming home for Christmas and revel in the season? So that’s the context for you...my annual angst.

This morning I was reading through Romans 3 where Paul was talking about how no one other than Jesus has or is able to do enough to satisfy the Law. That's when it hit me: that's what the effort of Support Team Building feels like to me. I can never do enough and I'm not good enough at it to satisfy whatever 'ideal' I've got in my mind. What if I just worked more hours? That doesn't get me anywhere because the hours I work and what I get paid aren't directly connected. Nope, I just have to grit my teeth and ask. It’s humbling. Is this any way to provide for a family? I could have done more during the year to communicate better, send more letters or something (phone calls?), so that I wouldn't be in this position. Am I learning anything here?

What about changing the game a bit? I do want to do a better job of joining the churches and people I know with what God is doing in Europe. I want to be more intentional about being a connection point for ministry between Europe and the rest of the world. But can I change things so that it costs less to do missions? What kind of ‘cost’ are we talking about here? Maybe it would be cool if it was free, but like David, I don’t want to give God something that costs me nothing (1Chron 21:24).  No, I think it should cost me something so I have to depend on God. He's worth it.
I think there are two things that God is gently driving (though it feels like a hammer-drill today) into my heart: humility and trust. God is teaching me that only He provides for me and my family. That's humbling, especially when I realize that working more hours or somehow trying harder are only thin veneer coverings for trying to do it myself. Sure, I've got to be responsible. That's why I'll include a link for online giving, send out emails, tweet and do what I can to help you see what God is doing in Europe and to understand the vision to which He has called our family. But there is a fine line between my personal responsibility and taking things into my own hands to bring about God’s promise of provision (check out Genesis 16 to see how Abram tried it). So I need to humbly ask, without biting my lip or making a face, and trust that He will be at work to provide for our needs. I ask Him first, and then I ask the local churches and people He has brought into our life, because I know that this is what He's asking me to do. He might give me another avenue in the future, but right now He’s teaching me to give up control of my life and trust Him as I ask others.

Trust is such a difficult word. It has to do with believing. Do I really believe that stuff in Luke 12:27 about how He cares for the lilies of the field? It's easy to say 'yes,' but it's a whole lot harder to live it. God, please help me.

No comments: