If you were being honest, you’d probably say that there are days when you too see yourself like yesterday’s knight or knight-ess in shining armor. I’d hazard a guess, however, that there are other days when you see yourself a bit like this fellow… with a bit more realism and a bit less enthusiasm.
Welcome to day two of my 30 days-30 pics: Defining Short-Term Missions. Today I’ll talk about how you can see yourself while on your life-changing journey.
A Charolais Cow
(Sure, it’s not the most flattering comparison but stick with me… it’s not as bad as it might appear.)
Today’s photo features is a snap I grabbed of Charolais cattle peeking through the brush-row adjacent to a small hobby farm I stayed at in western France’s Vienne region.
Today’s cow couldn’t be more different than yesterdays majestic steed. They don’t race out of the starting gate, they’re far less glamorous (when was the last time you heard about a traveling Lipizzaner-like show for white cows?) and they’re much less enthusiastic. Where a race-horse bolts, a cow plods along.
Rest assured, you can just as easily find yourself energy-depleted (or motivation-depleted) on the mission field as anywhere back home. There are days when even a venti Starbucks wouldn’t be enough to get your engine running (if there WERE a Starbucks handy). Still, like the Charolais, you plod along.
There’s value in plodding. You’ve heard the expression, “slow & steady wins the race”? It’s not all that different from Jesus’s statement in Matthew 24.13 that “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” A race horse could not keep up the race-pace for days at a time… he’d wear out and probably keel over!
Long-term growth as a result of short-term missions comes from faithfully doing, day in and day out, those little things that must be done… sometimes in the spotlight but most days not.
Note the look on the cow’s face. It’s a subtle blend of curiosity mixed with expressionless incomprehension. Sometimes short-term missionaries find themselves wondering what they’re doing in the land of their calling. Yes, they’ve felt the call of God and yes, they’re convinced of his care, but sometimes things don’t all add up. You will experience waiting times. They’re not necessarily valley times, but they’re just times where you find yourself either wondering or not fully understanding.
On those days, just keep chewing your cud. You have to take in new food regularly and, periodically, bring up yesterday’s food to sustain you.
- The new food is a constant seeking after God’s voice through his word and prayer.
- Yesterday’s food might be what he spoke to you yesterday or it may go back further. Accessing yesterday’s food may mean, however, reaching back to the time he called you. Re-accessing that moment may allow you to find fresh motivation and the assurance that you’re indeed in his will, when circumstances or feelings will try to convince you otherwise.
There are times when, as a short-term missionary you’ll feel a whole lot less glamorous than yesterday’s knight… or his steed. Rest assured, however. There is value even in the more bovine-like aspects of how you may see yourself.
God bless you as you faithfully plod along and chew your cud, in Short-Term Missions.
He who started a good work
really IS faithful to complete it in you.