As we approach summer we are greeted with the opportunity to engage in service. Typically we travel to various parts of our country or internationally. Due to the pandemic, we are staying local and serving in Kansas City with our partners in the Argentine District of KCK and Center of Grace.
This is a good thing. While we might lament the loss of long van rides, exploring a new city, and the fun of staying far away from home, this move to staying local this summer reminds us of two important truths.
It reminds us that our primary call as Christians is to be a follower of Jesus right here, and right now. Our primary call is to be a disciple of Jesus for the next ten minutes. In all our aspects of life-big and small, with family, friends, classmates, co-workers, neighbors and enemies-we are to be expressions of God’s grace, truth and love. In the midst of ordinary life we face the mundane and sometimes boring task of following Jesus by loving, serving and caring for those our lives naturally intersect with and bump up against.
If we are going to follow Jesus, it begins right where we are. God will not work with you anywhere other than where you are. So, to meet God and to discover what He is up to in the world, we have to be with Him right where we are, with the people around us. Our work of laboring with God begins in this moment, today, with whatever is presented in front of us. That might mean something exceptional and spectacular, and if so, may God give us the courage and humility to face it. It might mean something small and little, like unloading the dishwasher, and if so, may God give us the courage and humility to face it. As Mother Teresa reminds us, “Do small things with great love.”
Secondly, this shift to staying local this summer reminds us that engaging in service is not about us. It is about the people we are partnering with, addressing or at least becoming aware of the systems and policies that keep people and neighborhoods marginalized and oppressed, and then asking in what ways we can be of help. If our goal of mission trips is simply to socialize with our friends, or to take a vacation that incorporates some acts of service that we can feel good about, we’ve grossly missed the point of servanthood and the call of Christ upon the church in the world. We’ll discuss this more in the upcoming weeks.
But for now, ask yourself this:
“What does it look like to be a disciple of Jesus for the next ten minutes? What can I do that will contribute good, love, and kindness into the world? Who can I be in God’s realm for the next ten minutes?”