Missionaries and the “Average” Believer – Post 2 of 3

See the excerpt below from a commentary I am reading for our Philippians bible study.  I think this is interesting, maybe more to me than others since it is directly applicable in some ways to our current situation.  I also post it in light of the post from yesterday recruiting others to come to Curahuasi.  I read the part below about some who raise pastors or missionaries to a higher level as a way to avoid the call to missions.  I do not know if this is common or not, but I suspect that if it is, it is perhaps a subconscious effort.  I want to say that we are so normal, struggling with our parenting, struggling with reading the Bible consistently, and struggling with prayer, and struggling with selfishness and even laziness at work.  Yet we are happy and feel like we are in God’s will, doing something that matters.  And I want those who think about it, who think they might want to do missions, to know that they can do it too.  And we will be here to help you through the culture shock and adjustment; or perhaps more honestly we will go through it with you.  So if you are interested, come on!

Missionaries and the “Average” Believer — Two-Tiered Configuration?

The two -tiered system of martyrs and “average” believers exists in the American church in a different guise today. Now we place missionaries or pastors above other believers, creating a privileged class that does the church no good. Paul felt compelled to speak the gospel (1 Cor 9: 16); God had called him for this task, and he was only being obedient in carrying out that task — God gives the growth (3: 6). Paul cannot boast in anything, just as the man washing dishes is obeying the call to be a cleaner of the restaurant kitchen, or the woman performing surgery on an infant’s heart is obediently using the gifts of healing given her by God. And the missionary is no more obedient to God’s call than the housewife and stay-at-home mother. I’ve been both — I know. In each case, obedience is the operating factor. That means that missionaries cannot boast that they are doing more for the kingdom or are somehow gifted with a higher calling. Sadly, not all missionaries I have met would agree with me. Moreover, many like to exalt missionaries because as they build them up , they can rationalize that since they are not such strong Christians, God could never call them into mission work. The two-tiered system thus meets both needs — that of the missionary who wants to feel privileged, and that of the “average” believer who does not want God to call them to missions. This God-dishonoring dance needs to stop. It also means that the housewife has as much responsibility to live into God’s kingdom, to step outside her comfort zone and obey God as he asks her to risk for the sake of the gospel. The point is not what we do; the point is that we are doing what God asks us to do.

Longman III, Tremper; McKnight, Scot; Cohick, Lynn H. (2013-10-29). Philippians (The Story of God Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 1588-1593). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Tomorrow a final post in this series on why I don’t want nor should everyone come.

Camp Caire

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A moment of calm while they watch “Babe”. Afterward a short debate on whether the proposition of the movie was possible or not.

We have the pleasure of hosting the Wright families’ kids this week.  Nolan and Konika Wright are new missionaries here in Curahuasi.  Nolan is going to work as a physical therapist at the hospital.  We have already written about Stephen and Finley who arrived the month before we did in Curahuasi.  Stephen is a dentist who has fixed Peter’s chipped teeth a few times.  Fortunately for us and for our kids, they all have kids who are about our kids ages.  It is nice for everyone to have some english speaking friends to play with.  All the kids are pretty good at playing in Spanish, but it is easier for all of them in English.  More relaxing, and even for kids sometimes the cultural differences are a challenge.  All the Wright adults are in Lima for this week working on their religious Visas, so their kids came over on Monday night and will stay here until Friday.  It is great to have kids in the house.  It is full of energy, but I think everyone will be glad to have families reunited on Friday, kids included!  They miss their parents.  Please pray for us this week as we have doubled the kid energy, but lessoned the adult energy by two thirds.

 

How your presence affects missionaries.

Did you know that missionaries get lonely?  Of course it is not a surprise, but it is more true than you may realize.  One of the greatest gifts any person in the mission field can receive is the presence of their family or their friends with them.  I remember when David (Allison’s father) came during Thanksgiving.  It was a short visit, but all of us lived off the memories of the visit for several weeks.  He brought a suitcase filled with gifts as well as things we miss from the United States.  It was like Christmas in November.  Will’s mother (Ruth) came for a week during Christmas.  It was possibly our best week of the year.  We cooked a traditional American Christmas dinner and showed her the sights around San Jose.  The kids still talk about both of their grandparent’s visits.  We were so thankful to have them with us.

If you ever feel like visiting a friend or a family member in the mission field, I recommend that you do it.  They may be busy, but they will be glad to share their day with you as you see what their normal life is like.  You can understand their world better, and they will be more thankful than they will probably be able to express.  This is something I did not understand before I left the United States.  I underestimated the value that my friendship and my actual presence would have for my missionary friends.  We supported many, but we always waited for them to come home to see them.  I wish I had known, because I actually wanted to visit them, but I didn’t pursue the idea because it seemed impractical.  I realize that many people do not have the money to visit different countries, but your presence is felt when your missionary friends receive cards, Skype phone calls, comments on their blogs, or emails.  Even a “like” via Facebook lets your friends know they are remembered.  I wish I had known the difference it made in the past, but I am learning how to be better in the future.  So to all my friends who are missionaries, I am going to try and do better.  To those who are supporting others, please know that every little action makes a difference.  And to my friends and family back home, we miss you and we will try and be better about reaching back home to let you know we remember you as well.