Conferences are great. We come back enthused and ready to conquer the world, but it can be hard to talk to others who don't share our enthusiasm. However, I've heard more than one speaker say:
We should never apologize for being excited about Jesus!
So, no apology and I am going to share with you a few things about the prepositions "with", "for", "to", and "upon" as they relate to missions.
In Community Health Evangelism (CHE) we talk a lot about working "with" the people and not doing "for" or "to" the people. In other words, ask them about their needs, help them discover the assets available in their community and let them work out the solutions. This empowers them, creates ownership, and decreases their dependency on outsiders.
This is a radical approach to missions. It makes us reevaluate the way we have done things in the past, admit our mistakes and consider how we will do things differently in the future. It is great to see how things are changing in missions.
In a similar way, I have been reminded that I need to live my life so that I am working "with" God and not "for" God. After all, He is God. He doesn't need me to do a check list of things "for" Him. He wants us all to be "with" Him and He tells us He is "with" us in this work for the Kingdom. How often do we forget that?
"Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
(Psalm 46: 10-11)
So when you think about being "with" God, have you ever considered being "upon" His shoulders? I hadn't, but how much more "with" God could we be than "upon" his shoulders. The words below are not from a famous conference speaker, but from a 10 year old boy named Gilly who will soon be on the mission field in Kenya with his parents. Each month he shares his thoughts in their newsletter and this month his words really spoke to me, so I asked his mom if I could share them.
"I want to be one of the best missionary
kids I can be! I’ve felt God laying His hands upon me, pulling me up to
safety, lifting me upon His shoulders to let me see the world. Thank
You, Lord for all Your love." -Gilly
I thank God for the gathering of Christians who are passionate about missions and who don't apologize for being excited about Jesus. I thank God for the chance to listen to, learn from and share with people from all over the world. I thank God for the opportunity to visit with old friends and make new ones. But most of all I thank God for Gilly who helped me see what being "with" God looks like. He is going to be a great MK!
If you want to know more about the Griffiths' Mission check out their blog at Griffiths' Mission.