We All Need to Love – The Other 51

The following is an excerpt from the student’s devotions in our 2015 theme material at Live It and Serve this summer.

Diane grew up in what others would consider a Christian home. Diane’s family; two older brothers, mom, dad and Diane, went to church every Sunday – twice, but some things were well hidden in that home. Diane was bullied since she was a young girl by one of her brothers. Her parents found out and made sure it was kept quiet. They just walked through the motions of life. Diane struggled in school socially. She had only a handful of friends and trusted no one. Called “shy” by her teachers, they never really noticed that Diane was withdrawing more each year. Just before her high school years came to a close, her brother sought forgiveness for his actions. He had come to realize the pain he caused his sister and family. He blamed it on being a kid, being stupid at the time, but more than that, he realized how deeply he needed it set right. Diane wasn’t ready to let go that easily.

After high school, Diane went to a small Christian college that specialized in teaching people to do overseas missions. Overseas was the dream for Diane – Africa, South America, somewhere warm and far away. She could escape her small town, serve the Jesus she had come to love in spite of all her pain, and follow the call she had heard on a week long mission project called Serve. That week of Serve changed her. For the first time ever, she had met people who lived in really poor conditions, and Diane did not just feel comfortable there, she felt called there. She decided she would find those people overseas. All she needed was a little bit of money first.

Diane, under the guidance of a friend, took a job working with impoverished folks in a large city in North America. Each day, she would walk with her co-workers among the most impoverished in her country. People survived by diving into dumpsters for food, begging on street corners and living in cardboard boxes under bridges. She came to know these people not as impoverished but as her friends. Each person she met had a story – a deep dark past, and none of her newly found friends could hide their pain. It was as obvious as their weather worn jackets. They couldn’t hide it if they tried. They had to be honest. In there, somewhere, Diane found the courage to be honest too. She began to share about her past, her brother, and her pain. It was refreshing and renewing. Among the lowest of the low, Diane met Jesus. In the homeless men and women, Diane was finally free to share, to be loved in spite of her past and to sense a healing that could not come after years of trying.

Her brother never expected a visit. She didn’t call first, but Diane hopped on the train and hoped he would be home. It wasn’t easy, but they talked. They opened up, and in the midst of tears, they found a way through forgiveness.

It’s not perfect yet. Diane still has some struggles with her past. It creeps in and echoes in ways that still hurt. To this day, however, Diane works on the streets in that same city. She never did go overseas. Missions are everywhere. Missions is life. She hangs out with the poor all the time. She buys lunch for some people and lets some of her friends buy her coffee. They have deep wonderful conversations, and together they find home. Christ is there with her. She meets him every day on the streets.

We don’t all need to go on the streets. Some of us are not called there, but we all need to love. We all need to live this Kingdom out every day. It is our mission. It is our life.

Go Do Something

I was almost 20 years old when it came to me. I was not in church, youth group or doing any “holy” activity. I was sitting in my Jeep Cherokee outside of the garage where I worked, looking at a tall brick building with chipped paint and a flock of noisy seagulls arguing on the roof. I was terribly unhappy, but I didn’t have a clear picture of what to do. So I did nothing. For years. Until that summer morning where it came to me as clear as crystal: “Go do something.” That was it.

I thought maybe God wanted me to go do something in “ministry” but I didn’t know what that meant or where to begin. Here is the process I used to help guide my decision. Maybe it will help you too.

  1. I spoke with people who were wise and knew me well to help me identify what I was good at.
    I heard a lot of different things, but the common theme was that I should be doing something helping people. It seemed that perhaps a career in the ministry was for me. As you listen to what the wise people in your life are telling you, make sure you are asking the question, “How will I bring God’s grace into this area of the world?” If you do this, you will always be doing God’s will.
  2. I used my common sense and began looking for colleges that could prepare me for ministry and fit my other needs as well. Your preparation may or may not include college, but it will certainly include learning. Whether it is an apprenticeship, an entry-level job or an internship, you will be learning. When looking for your place to prepare, be intentional about ensuring you have a network of Christians to help you integrate what you are learning with a Christian worldview. A church, a small group or a Christian college are all great ways to develop that network.
  3. I began to make my plans for how to go about preparing, and I prayed this prayer (and meant it with my whole heart):

God, I want to please you more than anything. I think these steps make sense for me. If you have different plans, I will follow them willingly. If this is the wrong step, make it plain to me in a way I will understand.

Your heavenly father will not reject your earnest prayer to follow his will. He loves you too much.

  1. I took the steps to begin my training and trusted God.

I can’t guarantee that the first draft of your plan is an inflexible roadmap going to where you will end up. It certainly wasn’t for me. Please remember that God is faithful and will not, under any circumstances, by any means, ever abandon you. He loves you too much. But don’t just wait. Go do something.

If you would like to have a conversation with Luke, feel free to email him at lmorgan@kuyper.edu and the two of you can chat about life, calling and different ways to prepare.