Today is a great day to think about going on a mission trip!

On Tuesday, one JMI team from Rolling Hills Community Church took off for South Africa.  And we are currently forming teams to serve in Moldova (June 29-July 6, and July 6-13), in Kenya (Aug. 4-17) and India (Sept. 28-Oct. 6), with an announcement about a trip to the Brazilian Amazon due shortly.

It occurred to me today that, for us, mission trips can become more a matter of our own conveniences and preferences than about God’s will or meeting the desperate needs of the world.  We often think in terms of “our time”….”our money”….”our needs”….”our safety”….”our discretion”.  I wonder how “our thoughts” on these subjects play out in the sight of God?

What do things look like from His vantage point?  While we are content to weigh our options, how many people does He watch every second who succumb to hunger, abuse, disease, war, human traffickers or any of the other forms of loss and suffering?  Are we to imagine that our prayers for our own safety and provision hold that much weight with our Lord when we so easily dismiss from our thoughts the ones whose wailing fill His ears? 

I stand guilty, and I’m reminded that “my time” was the gift from the One who conceived of me as someone capable of serving the least of these.  How will I account for my use of His time?  And not just someday, but today?!

“My money?”  The young man I used to be could scarcely have dreamed he would amount to anything 40 years ago.  And the older man that I am now can easily imagine how every last cent could disappear or become worthless in this volatile and unpredictable world.  My money was never mine to begin with!

“My needs?”  I would be embarrassed to hang my list next to those of 95% of the world!

“My safety?”  Compare America’s myth and obsession with insuring our life, health, wealth, disability, car, home and even our food and identity with the God whose followers have, through the ages, suffered shipwreck, torture, imprisonment, loss of family, loss of homelands and every conceivable form of death from every inconceivable means of taking life.  When I dare presume to ask for safety, I do it with the sobering knowledge that He “spared not His own Son!”

Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  But how often do we neglect those words because we could survive for a month on what is in our pantries?  But to orphans in Moldova; to the poor in the jungles of Brazil and children living in the slums of India and Africa and Haiti, that simple petition means something…maybe everything!

Where you go?…when you go?…God leaves to your discretion.  Given what He sees and hears and knows, and given what you have been given, today is a great day to think about going on a mission trip!

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