I have come to the freeing realization that I can not cause anyone to care about anything.
I can use persuasive words, impassioned pleas, heart-wrenching photos - I can even set those photos to touching music in a slide show - but I can not reach into anyone's chest, squeeze his heart, and make him care about the things I care about.
Nor should I.
This seems the most obvious string of sentences on the planet and yet, as we prepare to launch our family onto the mission field, it only just occurred to me. I am freed by such a notion.
It is not my job to endear Believers to our cause. That is solely the work of the Holy Spirit!
As our web site is having it's final face lift and we prepare to unveil the full scope of our mission in The Philippines, it is with a great burden lifted that the failure or success of our mission does not depend on ME choosing the right configuration of words and photographs, designed to make my friends and total strangers give of their money or come serve along with us, that we move forward.
Just like the rest of this gig, it's NOT ABOUT ME!
I am faced, daily, with photographs on my facebook news feed of beautiful orphans who need families. I am moved by the needs of the poor as their stories come to me through various blogs. I was recently undone by a youtube video called "Cry Freetown" in which a journalist embedded with the RUF captures executions of innocent Sierra Leonians, even children, with his lens (warning:that video is NOT for the faint of heart and certainly not for children - if you view it, do so with this in mind).
The scope of these needs and the suffering around the world can make one little Believer feel completely inadequate.
Which cause to choose? Which is nearest and dearest to our hearts? To His?
It can make us throw up our hands and say "I will never make much of a difference" and bury our heads in the sands of work, shopping, child rearing and entertainment.
And so it goes . . .
But the Lord has called His Church, His beautiful bride to extend her hand to orphans, widows, the poor, the oppressed, the lost and the wounded.
She needs to walk in this calling to be whole. The same way a bird needs to fly or an itch needs to be scratched. The church of Jesus is called to care. Not because God is unable to assuage suffering without us, but because He has prepared "good work" for us to do before He created the world (Eph. 2:10).
Caring for others fulfills our purpose and makes the name of our Savior great.
What Believer doesn't want an abundant life and to know he made a mark for Jesus during this short stint on Earth?
And because I know these things: that the church is called to care, that Believers innately want to make a mark for Christ, that the Holy Spirit prompts us to give and serve, that there are enough "causes" out there for every Believer to join and support, that we are leaning in closely to hear what He has for us to do, I can rest.
I can't make you care enough to support us on the mission field. I don't have the power to draw anyone to pack a suitcase and fly half way around the world to touch a child otherwise rejected.
But Jesus does.
And when He moves you, I pray you will act swiftly - no delays - so you can reap the benefits of walking in obedience.
I pray we do the same.
We are called to care. I am. You are.
And THAT'S really living!