Journaling in Distant Lands; Comparing the Fields

DSC_1433In a time what seems long, long ago now, I found myself reaping the painful wages of a life of sin. During a counseling session, one of the only things I recall from them, the instructor challenged an answer from among we who had strayed far from the socially acceptable.

His question was, “Where will you turn for help?” The immediate answer from among us was “the Church,” to which we were informed, “No, not so… they will want nothing to do with you in your condition,” insinuating we needed fixed before the church would accept us.

These very words have personally harbored an eerie reality for me on occasion as the years have passed. I have played the villainous role as much as any other. It is as Michael Cheshire writes, “…We Eat Our Own.”

I sit listening to a dear friend share of God’s work in her family’s life, inserting often, by slight referents, the pain she has endured at the hands of the churchy careless, and my mind races to a distant land where the missionary has subjected himself to the outcast, sick, and sinner alike.

I remember my friend and pastor’s wisdom to note the missionary’s right reasoning and strategy to reach the perishing by becoming one with them. He must do so if he will feel their pain, so he does.

The scenes of a missionary life in Senegal are hard to separate from the words we read by Paul, how he ‘becomes who he must’ for the sake of the gospel. It is, at least to me, evident the fear I would embrace just knowing how easily one can be taken advantage of through the daily routine of becoming immersed in the ministry of going and giving.

The world I live in is in so many ways incomparable to my friend’s. I pray for grace multiplied to the missionary and his family as they endure the hardships of living without so much of what I merely take for granted.

Our worlds are no different though in an equal number of ways. We will both awaken each morning to a world filled with people who need a Savior. We carry the same good news; the same powerful message. Lord willing, we will share it by investing ourselves into the lives of those God permits, accepting them, loving them, engaging with them, even when it’s messy.

If we will be Jesus’ body, our search for those who are His cannot exclude those who aren’t good, or even those who aren’t like us, for if goodness and likeness determines the criteria for acceptance, then our Lord has no one to call His Church; no, not a one.

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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12 Responses to Journaling in Distant Lands; Comparing the Fields

  1. ..>>> “even when it’s messy”
    It is seldom NOT messy, but praise God He has delivered us from the mess, and given us the ministry and the desire to reach out to those who are still bogged down in mess – and what a thrilling privilege when we see the Lord lifting them!

  2. "light and salt" says:

    The Lord said He came to seek not the righteous, but the unrighteous…we need to bring His gospel to the sick and the lost of this world. And there are plenty of them!

    Steve Pejay

    • mtsweat says:

      Yes there are. Amen and thanks for the words of truth. Blessings

      • "light and salt" says:

        Always appreciate your comments! We are in this world to seek the lost just as Christ Jesus was.

        So we need to associate with them, but not get caught up in what hey do!

        Enjoy your day in Christ…

  3. ccragamuffin says:

    “…if we will be Jesus body”…six powerful words. The body of Jesus was the encapsulating of eternity into humility… of wrapping holiness in a shell of hunger, and grief, and fatigue…of perfection being misunderstood, and lied about, and hated, and feared…a body that was persecuted and suffered and died. A body that gave, loved, forgave. “…if we will be Jesus body”. Thank you for the powerful thought. But it forces me to ask myself…”Self, do I want to be that kind of body to a broken world?”

    • mtsweat says:

      Those are powerful in between the dots truths good friend. You have rocked my evening with a refreshed revelation of this term Paul uses “Body” to describe the called out and assembled ones. You have no idea how awesome it is you shared this as I prepare to teach this week, “What is a Church member?”

  4. “Lord willing, we will share it by investing ourselves into the lives of those God permits, accepting them, loving them, engaging with them, even when it’s messy.” The Lord is willing and I am discovering it is always messy. Thank you for this very affirming word about becoming the church in a messy world.

  5. Tanzalongs says:

    Great to hear your story. Enjoyed a very short time in Senegal in 2006 as part of a much bigger trip to Gambia.

    • mtsweat says:

      I can with a little light-hearted-ness now respond to the mentioning of the Gambia, but oh boy, if you could have been a fly on the VW backglass during our travel… Here’s our encounter:

      I was able to take a few moments to visit your site, and will do so more. Thanks for the link, and many blessings.

      • Tanzalongs says:

        Sort to read of your experiences. My time in The Gambia was a pleasant one and in general the people were friendly and welcoming. Our crossing to and from Senegal was trouble free. Our tour guide was superb and we thoroughly enjoyed our week touring the country.

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