We’ve been out in Montana for the last couple weeks hanging out with friends and speaking at different churches as part of our support-raising. I think I can officially say that fundraising is a very, very emotional process. There is no set schedule, no 9 to 5. . . .just a constant attempt to connect with people and share our lives together. I’m increasingly trying to become people centered. The traditional way of speaking in 52 churches in the course of a year before going to the field sure doesn’t seem to fit my mold. So, we are kind of living in this tension of speaking in churches, meeting with friends, and trying not to feel like useless people during the down times. I’d trade a 9 to 5 any day but that simply isn’t what God has asked us to do.
Jesus values one person without limit
I’m learning a lot of things however. I’m learning how valuable friendship is. We drove three hours down to see a friend who I haven’t seen in 5 1/2 yrs today. Since graduating from college, he has youth pastored, worked at Pizza Hut, spent two years as a soldier in Iraq, and now is in graduate school. I was thrilled to see his contentment and that he has found his place. We both felt like not much time had passed and there was such an immediate bond. He’s just a real friend. Almost immediately he handed us $1,000 in cash and told us he believed in what we were doing. Grad students don’t have any money. . . having friends who believe in this whole thing can’t be put into words. I’ve had these kind of experiences happen continually over the last few weeks. I have noticed a theme that meeting one person and sharing our lives with them is a lot more valuable than any big, prestigious meeting. At the end of the day, I think we all value time together with a friend. We hardly ever talk about missions and money when we meet our friends. . . friends simply want the best for each other and make it happen.
I have another friend who has allowed us to stay in their home for the month. He and his wife have a small place and two children. They continually give of their time, food, and other resources. My soul has been revived since staying with them. You can’t put a price tag on these type of people. All the hierarchy of organizational missions is overrated. When push comes to shove, relationship is everything. The tendency in all of us is to go for the “big show” in many parts of life and ministry. ITeams has a value stating “We value one person without limit.” That has resonated within me over the last few weeks as I have been in and out of homes and churches. If I had my pick, I’d always pick a cup of coffee over a huge meeting. It’s so easy to get our minds on the wrong things. I’m trying to value one person without limit.
Is this what Jesus had in mind?
When God calls you to be a missionary and perpetually ask for money, it’s inevitable that you will ask the question: Is this what Jesus had in mind? There are verses in the Bible to support missions fundraising and, if you push a little, verses that prove the opposite. So, as I continue on the rollercoaster of living in this tension, I must run toward friendship. I’m not sure Jesus would ask for money, but I’m confident he would value one person without limit. He would pursue deep, meaningful relationships and this gives me great confidence. Jesus values one person without limit and I’m trying to do the same.