Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Musings on the Creator in Me

A Lesson Learned from the Selfishness of Selflessness

When my daughter and I sent out letters of request for sponsorship of our missions trip to El Salvador, one person declined a tax receipt from our church because he believed the trip was more for personal growth and development than service to the Salvadorians. At first I was stunned. How could he think that?

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there was truth in what he said. Granted, we were giving of personal time and resources, leaving loved ones, comfort, and security to spend nine days making fools of ourselves for the sake of the gospel -- which meant we were sacrificing our selves for the eternal benefit of those who chose to respond to our programs. 

But in the grand scheme of things, it seemed like we, the missionaries, were significant beneficiaries. 

In giving love to the sweet children, we were blessed with expanded hearts that yearn to reach more people with the gospel of Christ.

A little girl who shares my name:)

In praying for the children's needs, we received the blessing of witnessing miracles that multiplied our faith a thousandfold. And we learned how to pray -- really cry out to God -- for extended periods of time without being distracted. 

We had the opportunity to deepen existing relationships -- and start new friendships that are bound to bless beyond measure as we wend our way through life as a church family, and as a global family of God.

And we were able to experience many aspects of a wonderful country and culture -- some heart-wrenching, some exhilarating.

How many people do you see engaging in the country's "recycling program" in this photo?

There is no doubt in my mind that God intended for my daughter and me to go to El Salvador on this missions trip and that God did, indeed, use us to bless some of the Salvadorians (especially our Compassion Canada child, Jeanci, and her family). 

But if I'm absolutely honest, I have to admit that my motives were not all selfless. I wanted something from this trip. No, it wasn't about "Christian tourism" -- going on a missions trip as a way to "see the world." But I wanted my daughter to gain a new perspective on life, and I wanted us both to have a serious spiritual awakening. I wanted God to do something in and for us. And frankly, I think that was what drove me to leave my comfort zone -- not any noble desire to serve Salvadorians. 

For a while I felt guilty about that. It seemed wrong, somehow, to be going to another country to serve others with an ulterior motive. When I looked around at all the poverty, I got mad at myself for being so self-centred, as well as confused that God had "blessed" me so abundantly and the Salvadorians seemingly less so -- and how could I be so ungrateful, wanting more than what God had already given me?

But then God used one of those new relationships -- my precious new sisterhood with a lady on our team named Bev -- to show me that it was not about "us" serving "them" because of their great need. She pointed out that when God looks at Salvadorians, He doesn't see poverty -- He sees brokenness -- lives that need Jesus.  What does He see when He looks at North Americans? Wealth and abundance? Nope -- brokenness -- lives that need Jesus. It's not about the "more abundantly blessed" serving the "less blessed" at all. It's about sharing the Love of Christ and letting HIM do the healing of all our hearts. 

It makes sense, then, that we would be blessed by our experience. The Love of Jesus flows in more than one direction. And it makes sense that I would want something from the experience. After all, I am no less broken or in need of Jesus than any person we danced before, sang to, prayed over, or loved on in El Salvador. 

So, I think I can be selfish in my brokenness and still be selfless in my service. 

What do you think?

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  1. So glad you were "selfish!" Loved the pictures and Bev's so very true words. You've been a blessing to me just as you have to those in El Salvador!

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words, Beth :)

  3. First time to stop by . . . My son is going on a missions trip to Brazil in January. I know it will be a growing time for him (and have been praying for that!). Thanks for sharing this!

  4. some great pics! and how true that in going to serve we are often more than blessed our church goes to el salvador every year...

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Loni and Brian! Brian, I'd be interested in hearing where your church goes -- do they go to King's Castle, by any chance?

  6. wow... the love of God is so very evident in this post. xo

  7. I'm glad, Emily -- thanks so much for dropping by and commenting! I just recently discovered YOUR blog and am so enjoying my subscription to it!


Sincere responses . . .

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