Am I Working, or Just Wasting Time?

I talked to my mom yesterday about a conference she and my dad attended at my younger sister’s church in Waco, Texas. World Mandate is a weekend focused around missions and urgency and from talking to my mom, it was a weekend they won’t soon forget.

One of the speakers they heard was Christine Caine. I’ve decided I need to get to know this person. Or at least hear her speak. Christine’s passion lies in ending the injustice of human trafficking and apparently she convinces people they should move to places like the Amazon immediately. And start spreading the gospel. I think I would like someone who could convince people to do such things.

I also heard one comment she made–almost as an afterthought–was that we sit around writing and reading books about love languages, our gifts and passions from the Lord, etc.,  instead of acting. Doing something. Actually fulfilling what Jesus told us to do: make disciples of all nations… We’re stalling. And why?

I remember a moment when I was in Zimbabwe and we were sitting around in a circle eating lunch, I think, while working at an orphanage. All month we had been following around these two vocational missionaries from Oregon. They had lived in South Africa (Zimbabwe before that) for eleven years and I remember looking at them as we sat in that circle and thinking “There really is no greater job, is there? Than being a missionary. There is no greater purpose to fulfill.”

Despite that revelation, I am not a missionary. I came home from Africa and haven’t gone back. Some may make the “I’m a missionary in my workplace, in my school, in my current environment” argument and I agree. People need to know the gospel here as much as they do there but can my life be dedicated to it here, where I have a day-job and it’s not evangelizing? Are we wasting time and making excuses for the laziness?

He said to all nations. But I’ve spent the majority of my life in one.

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9 thoughts on “Am I Working, or Just Wasting Time?

  1. Thank you for what you wrote. As a missionary, it was an encouraging reminder to me of why I am doing what I’m doing (because sometimes even those of us who are missionaries need a reminder).

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  2. Well said sweetie. I know you left part of your heart in S. Africa. Life is a real adventure when we’re living it with Him. You never know what might be next. Your heart is willing so who knows………….

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  3. Have you ever listened to Keith Green? I think it’s on the “Here Am I, Sent Me” CD that he talks about the call to missions (and he says unless we’re explicitly called to stay in North America, we’re called to go).

    I strongly agree with your comment about missions-at-home. I think it’s a mistake to equate “missions” with “overseas”; I really believe that missions need to happen in our own backyards. I direct at a summer camp in Canada and we see kids every summer who haven’t ever heard of Jesus before. Living evangelically when you’re not working an evangelism-oriented job is an interesting question for a future post, perhaps!

    He said all nations and you’ve spent the majority of your life in one … but you’re also just one person. I don’t say that to absolve you of responsibility you’re feeling convicted of, but … I don’t know, but it seems like it’s important to remember. (Yikes, that’s a poor sentence. I wish I knew how to fix it.)

    (A final note: this is quite a contrast to the settling question from last week!)

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    1. Thanks, Kerry! Very well said. I’ve listened to Keith Green but it was years ago so I’ll need to do some re-listening. And yes, this is such a contrast to last week and I hadn’t even realized that! I think my head is a bit of a mess right now 🙂

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  4. Over the summer I read Radical by David Platt, while in China on a mission trip. Even there it convicted me. To remember that “All nations” includes China but doesn’t ONLY include China. Speaking Spanish, I am much more drawn to Latin America than Asia, and I’ve made comments like, “Next time I’m in Central America I need to buy another hammock” or “I need to go back to Central America because we’re out of coffee.” Of course, the root of my CA trips have been mission work, and the people there are my primary concern, the coffee and hammocks just fun souvineers. Yet I say these things without plans to travel there again in the near future. Due to where I am in life, saying “Yes! Let’s go!” is hard… but it doesn’t have to be. Why am I so hesitant?
    Katie

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  5. Always love reading your posts.

    And, yes, I do believe living for Him wherever you are is incredibly important, but if you feel led to go, then I think you should absolutely go. Different seasons in life can cause different commitments, but this season of your life, you might feel very strongly in going outside US and living for Him “out there.”
    As a teacher, even at a Christian school, I feel like living for Him, helping to raise up kiddos who know the Lord and live for Him is a gift from God in my life. I feel very blessed and intentional on what I am called to do each day as a teacher. BUT, it is the season I find myself in right now.

    Good luck…it sounds like you might have an itch for adventure and living out in a very active/apparent way, so I think you should do it!

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  6. I bring to the table a very unique perspective. I spent two years of my life in China as a missionary (and part of it reaching a remote group of minorities) and now I live in America and buy designer jeans. And spend the majority of my time with Christians. Currently reading Radical which is really challenging because he argues that so many people say “Americans need Jesus just as much as the Chinese…” and “I’m just not called to go overseas”…but when in reality Jesus’ last command to us on earth was to “GO”. So it would appear that since I speak Mandarin I am wasting my time here in America… On the other hand, a genre of Christian books about rest, emotional health, observing the sabbath have recently become popular–and one of the reasons I came home was I wasn’t emotionally healthly. (The Emotionally Healthy Church, The Rest of God, etc). It’s all confusing and jumbled and I think the important thing I am learning is I need to have a missional mindset here in America (actively sharing the Gospel) –and be open to where God is calling me next.

    I don’t want to waste my life on designer jeans, books (even if they are good books), and saving for the future (when there may not be a ‘future’). I think the general consensus is we all want to follow Christ and obey…so I’m going to start consistently praying for God to speak LOUDLY into my life about who and where and when.

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