..the unrestrained excitement of those returning from a short-term missions experience. There is an urgency in their stories. You never have to ask how their trip was, they will tell a stranger who may accidentally catch eyes with them. For that matter, the fee collector at the airport exit will get a synopsis… What is it about these trips that captivates the hearts and minds of short-term missionaries? There are a few common testimonies that surface without fail…
- …There was something attractive about the simplicity of life on the field.
- …There was an amazing draw about the contentment of people's hearts.
- …There was a stunning acceptance experienced even as a total stranger.
- And the kids…if they had the money to start an orphanage for those in such great need they would 'accidentally' miss their return flight and forfeit life back in the leisure of the states.
There is something immeasurably good about abandoning the comforts of our spoiled existence here; even for the short term. There is freedom in loosening the tether of technology. There is a draw to finding little faces waiting for someone to pick them up and be Jesus to them. Something so much richer than air conditioned homes, smart phones, and social networking. It's the same draw that stood Jesus up and pulled Him to abandon His throne.. Even for a short term.
“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Jesus was stirred by the “short term” missions trip. Stirred, not by the simplicity, kindness, or acceptance of those He was visiting.. But by our great need. If we could grasp this same heart, we would be missionaries every day, everywhere. This brought to my mind a few gripping quotes about missions..
Consider the Passion of these men:
- “We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first.” — Oswald J. Smith
- “If I had 1,000 lives, I'd give them all for China” — Hudson Taylor
- “I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light” — John Keith Falconer
- “Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell.” — C.T. Studd
Listen to the Realization of the great need of people:
- “No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once.” — Oswald J. Smith
- “The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time” — Carl F. H. Henry
- “As long as there are millions destitute of the Word of God and knowledge of Jesus Christ, it will be impossible for me to devote time and energy to those who have both.” — J. L. Ween
Now read these statements confronting our lack of involvement:
- “Sympathy is no substitute for action.” — David Livingstone, missionary to Africa
- “In our lifetime, wouldn't it be sad if we spent more time washing dishes or swatting flies or mowing the yard or watching television than praying for world missions?” — Dave Davidson
- “Can't you do just a little bit more?” — J.G. Morrison pleading with Nazarenes in the 1930's Great Depression to support their missionaries.
Two take-away lessons:
1. Everyone needs to experience the soil of a foreign land under their feet.
2. We need to beg God for this same zeal and love experienced by short term missionaries for those we cross paths with everyday!
Get outta here.. As soon as possible.. It's worth it!