Life is a Short-Term Mission

February 10, 2010

My mid-life crisis starts at thirty. The older I get, the age I am seems so young, but thirty shakes me. What am I doing with my life? The Lord leads me to the scripture He gave me when dad died, “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away.” Psalm 90:10.

Dad flew away at seventy. What is seventy years? A blimp? A flicker? A tiny spark of life in the scheme of eternity? Yet I often live my life like I am promised seventy years times seven. We are not even promised one more day.

Several years ago Francis Chan came to speak at our church revival. He took out a long rope that expanded from one end of the large stage to the other. He told us to imagine that the rope did not end on either side. It always was and will continue on forever. Then, on the long rope, a small red piece represented our lives. That’s it. Our lives are a small red smug on the long rope of eternity.

In my small red piece of rope I call my life so far, God has sent me on many travels to different places to encourage cross-cultural workers for the Gospel and to lead short-term teams to support their work. I love to travel and often fell a sense of deeper intimacy with Jesus when I am out “on the field.” This is, until recently.

When we prepare short-term mission teams, we talk about walking by the Spirit, staying F.A.A.T. (flexible, adaptable, available, and teachable), and utilizing every moment and situation to be a light to the community around us. Then we return home and are confronted with responsibilities, bills, jobs, family, appointments, and the F.A.A.T. principle seems to evaporate.

Recently I made a conscious decision to put relationships before tasks and to try to move by the promptings of the Spirit rather than the task list of my responsibilities. To be F.A.A.T. every day. God knows those things need to get done.

On one particular day, I had my “to-do” list.: grocery shopping, laundry, errands, etc. Mom calls. We talk for a few moments and I sense the Spirit tugging at my heart to give her a visit. Okay, laundry won’t get done today.

After visiting with mom, a friend calls. She needs a listening ear. I listen and pray. Then, on my way to run my errands, another friend needs to meet up and talk. Okay. We meet, we talk, we pray. Now it is 5:00 and I did nothing on my task list.

As I drove home, the thickness of the presence of God filled my car like a worship-filled sanctuary. “This is what I feel like on short-term mission trips,” I told the Lord out loud. Suddenly, before I could even finish my reflection of thankfulness to Him, it came. “Life is a Short-term Mission Trip.” Wow. You mean I can live with purpose and fruitfulness, joy and the power of the Spirit, the ministry of the Gospel and the fulfillment of living life for Him every day? Yes. Every day. Every day we choose who we are to serve: our schedules or our Lord. Sure. Laundry still needs washed, but amazingly, as we yield to Him, he gives us plenty of time to do it all.

So too. As I look upon the brink of motherhood, I hear all kinds of jokes and warnings how life as I know it is over, but living in the light of eternity… living every day as a Short-term Mission… life as I know it is only just beginning!


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