Everyday Discipleship - Live Like Missionaries
Snuggled on the couch, sipping hot tea at 2 am my daughter and I quietly shared our hearts with one another. The dim lighting in the room and the quietness was enjoyable. Yawning, we agreed that we should go to bed and hugged each other before turning out the lights.
As I walked to my room I was filled with warmth and fullness, as if I’d just had a full, satisfying meal. I smiled….that’s what Jesus had said in John 4:34, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work,”
I’d come across this verse in the past couple of months and it had perplexed me…I wanted to experience this “nourishment”. My spirit stirred as I repeated the words, “My nourishment comes from doing God’s will”…I boldly asked the Lord for His nourishment. And when I say this was a bold prayer I mean this was coming from a woman who has endlessly sought to find fulfillment. For years I have struggled to find peace and balance with food and this idea of “nourishment” seemed elusive and unattainable. I know that it is not the stuffed, bloated feeling that I’ve experienced…where even as my stomach aches from too much food, I still feel empty and “hungry”.
As I slipped under the covers, I realized the difference now…between being “stuffed and empty” and “content and fulfilled”. The Lord answered that bold prayer and that week I had two more conversations where the Spirit was present and I walked away “feeling” like I’d eaten a meal.
Unfortunately, the week following these rich conversations I lost sight of what the Lord was doing. I became self-focused and gloomy and avoided meeting with a friend…I felt inadequate. I was struggling with trusting the Lord in my circumstances and questioned my ability to encourage her to do what I couldn’t. Later I remembered that I’m always going to be “ill-equipped” on my own and that it is only by God’s spirit within me that equips me for every good work, so I called up my friend and asked if we could get together again and I shared my struggle.
As I look back I can remember some other occasions where I was just in the right place at the right time. I didn’t “over think” the situation…I simply responded. Once I was waiting to drop off a Goodwill donation and I watched while a couple of guys attempted to put a kitchen table in the back of a small SUV. After coming to the conclusion that it wouldn’t fit, the poor woman who bought the table looked worried. I stepped out and offered to take the table to her home in our big van. It wasn’t a “spiritual adventure”. It cost me a little gas, and a little time, but it was a great reminder that I don’t know when an opportunity will come to show another human being the love of Jesus, but I want to be ready when it does.
On another occasion I sat in a waiting room with three other women. I flipped through one of the magazines on the table. I heard a sniffle and glanced out of the corner of my eye as one of the women dabbed her eyes with a tissue. The other woman asked her a question and she nodded. She was a breast cancer survivor…and now she was waiting for new results. I laid the magazine down and internally fought the call to pray for her. After a few very long moments I took courage and asked the woman if I and the other woman could pray with her. She smiled with a look of relief and we both laid hands on her and prayed. Moments after we finished the nurse came into the room and had positive news to share with the woman. All three of us tearfully cheered together.
The opportunities are there, just as Jesus said in verse 35 that, “the fields are already ripe for harvest…what joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike.” And just because I am walking beside her now doesn’t mean I am called to do it indefinitely…that isn’t my concern…and I should not leave because I “think” it best…I should wait until he says that my work is finished.
The times that I’ve been a little slow and missed the chance to minister to someone I’ve asked the Lord to forgive me and to give me another opportunity and he’s answered my prayer. After hearing this past week’s message and reflecting on some personal “missionary moments” I see that at times I am reliant on the Holy Spirit and I follow His lead. I am also reminded of my need to circle up with other missionaries. We can offer one another prayer and encouragement as we continue to do God’s will.