I was sitting in church this morning listening to the pastor talk about “building churches in Peru.”
Although he spoke with conviction and was obviously excited about his vision to populate the jungles of Peru with churches, I was not.
As I sat there and tried to process my feelings (or lack thereof) I asked myself, “Why am I not excited?”
It wasn’t because I disagreed with what he was saying or with the mission work in Peru. I think missions work is great.
I went on a short-term mission trip to India years ago and it had a big impact on me, which I’m grateful for.
So why didn’t my heart leap at the mention of building churches and digging wells in Peru?
Was something wrong with me? Is my heart cold? Am I just so selfish that any act of service sounds boring!?
I was thinking about all of this when service ended and I saw a girl who I heard used to be an addict. I remember someone saying she was interested in starting a recovery group at church so I wanted to talk to her.
I tapped her on the shoulder and introduced myself. I told her I used to be an addict too and asked if she works with people who want to get clean.
Her eyes lit up and she said, “Yes, we’re actually starting a Friday night group here at church. I’d love it if you’d want to come support it! Especially since you’re a guy and we don’t have many guy leaders.”
We exchanged contact info and then texted more about it today. We’re both excited about seeing what God has in store for recovery groups at church and made plans to meet tomorrow night to talk more!
So this was a good lesson for me today. I share it because I think it’s so important to pay attention to those things that excite you and make your heart leap. I believe they’re clues to your calling.
And it’s also important to remember that just because you’re not called to a certain ministry doesn’t make that ministry any less important than what you’re called to (but it’s OK if it’s less important “to you”).
In other words, Peru is not important to me, but it is to my pastor and to those who share his vision for that nation. So I can honor and respect their calling without having to pretend I share it (or criticize it).
If I tried to force myself to “be all in” on Peru I could probably be of service. But I would eventually burn out and probably get cynical about it.
I propose we’re all better off if we’re honest about what excites us and what doesn’t.
Then we can focus on doing the work we’re called to do without feeling guilty about not doing everything else.
“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”