Luke 12:48b; Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more
Matthew 25:40; And the King will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."
I'm often asked to explain why I participate in mission work, and I find I have a great deal of difficulty adequately expressing the feelings that motivate me to undertake these projects.I think the best way to explain to Christians why I do it is to quote the two bible verses listed above, as they simply state the reasons we need to do things for others.Of course, this simple mandate can manifest itself in endless ways.There are the obvious ways like overseas mission work or volunteering in a homeless shelter. But there are endless, less obvious, ways to participate in "mission work," such as sewing clothes for the homeless, giving $10.00 to a mission organization, helping a shut-in neighbor, giving time to mentor kids, praying for those in need, etc.All these things achieve the mandate God so clearly demands of us.We can't look at this mandate as, "I've been told to do something; therefore, I will do it because I have to, not because I want to."This simply becomes works and nothing more.I guess it boils down to finding the spirit of the mission and understanding that the more you give the more you receive.
Personally, I find mission work to be an extremely satisfying and enjoyable undertaking that challenges me in ways I never could imagine. It forces me out of my "comfort zone" and pushes me to try things I never thought I could do.It illustrates, for me, the plights of others, who by appearance are poorer and less fortunate, however, are so much richer of spirt and faith that it strengthens my resolve to see life as a gift and not a chore.It allows me to give back the gifts God so graciously gave me and makes me realize how truly blessed I've been.
Initially, I have to say, my motivation was quite selfish.Traveling to exotic parts of the world sounded "cool" and would give me a lot of good stories to tell my friends, and make me somehow look better in others' eyes.I quickly realized that it was not "all about me" but "all about others," which, ultimately, is what God mandates.Until I recognized that simple concept, I didn't enjoy the work nearly as much as I do now.With each successive trip, I am more comfortable in these settings and understand better that I'm getting more than I'm giving.I'm more comfortable interacting with the patients we're helping and find we have much in common.My greatest pleasure is holding a patient's hand during their eye surgery.My duties are frantic up to the start of the procedure; however, during the procedure I often have time to stop and hold the patient's hand. This is basic human communication. Even though we can't speak each other's language and our paths will never cross again, we have come together at that moment, as children of God, and helped each other.It's easy for us to forget how frightening it must be to the patient to have eye surgery performed by someone they've never met or talked to and who is communicating in a language they don't understand and have no idea what the final outcome might be.They put their trust in our team to do the best job possible and put their faith in God that His Will be done. So, a hug, a smile, or holding someone's hand are gifts we can give which are more valuable than material things.
One of the most rewarding experiences is observing patients the day after surgery.This is the time when we remove the patch from their operated eye and they have a chance to see the outcome.In 90+% of the patients, their vision is significantly improved.It takes a few minutes for the eye to adjust to the light once the patch has been removed, so to watch their expressions as they look around the room and realize they can see again is amazing.Broad smiles and tears, along with numerous hugs are shared.It's extraordinary to be able to see God's gifts so freely given to others through the gifts He's given us!
So, why do I do it?
- God mandates we help others
- I get more than I give
- God gave me gifts that I can share with others
- I love new experiences
- It challenges me to step out of my "comfort zone"
- It makes me appreciate what I have and humbles me
- I get to meet interesting people
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