"Around the horn and back again"....do you know what that refers to? Well, I don't know that anyone ever used that phrase, but "horn" refers to either the bottom of South America or Africa or both...not sure.
Once upon a time explorers were trying all they could to find a fast route to India, thanks to Marco Polo (who knew he was more than a game you played in a pool?). It was discovered that India was a land filled with natural resources the rest of the world envied and would die for, literally. Sugar, spice and everything nice. All that to say, I love India. When we visit, I feel at home, and Lord willing, I will live there, or maybe be able to do short term missions trips with my sons. They have to get older and I have to...wait on the Lord.
As I've been trying to find a way around the horn, that is to bear fruit, which isn't always "doing things," I'm discovering that just because it may be a good idea and it seems to be something that would lift up the body of believers, it may not be what God wants me to do. This is actually quite a revelation, because I'm from the school of "do it all", ask questions later.
Do whatever it takes to serve, even if it's outside of what God would have you do, even if it causes you to neglect your family, even if it has nothing to do with your spiritual gifts, even if you're so tired and stretched that you've forgotten why it is you're doing what you're doing. As I read in scripture, I'm noticing that those saints had specific purposes and goals and met them, indeed, to the exclusion of other great ideas. So the conflict arises. Do I do what I feel I should do, or do what I've been led to do? Is it the same?
The thing is, we should be willing. Willing to do anything. Willing to scrub toilets, willing to work in the nursery, willing to teach Sunday school to 7 year olds, willing to go to Africa, willing to go to Iran (scary), willing, but that doesn't mean we do it all. It's not possible to do a good job at everything. I don't think I find in scripture that God wants us to hit the "do" button and forget it. He wants us to grow in whatever it is we do. Remember, He doesn't NEED us, so why act like He does?
Why not do specifically what He wants us to do and grow while doing it? Who cares what people think....as long as we are WILLING. I think us "doers" out there are afraid of what people will think if we say "I don't think the Lord would have me do that right now, but I'll pray about it." We don't want to be thought of as selfish, but that's pride. It's so easy to be one extreme or the other, a break waves "doer", or a do nothing(er). It's hardest to be in the middle.
Compassion. Well, I've got the 'Passion' part down, just not the 'com', that is, companion, co-heir, comrade. God is working in me specifics. I came to Germany the same as I was in the States. If things had been the same here I would have involved myself in all ministries possible and failed to do what it was God wanted me to do. My kids would have gotten the short end of the proverbial stick, that's for sure, and I shutter to think what I would have produced as dinner at the end of the day....but there is more. God has a plan for me, because I have a desire unquenchable to be used for His kingdom. Things have been quiet on the home front, and I've felt forgotten from time to time. I've felt the only thing I was good for was changing diapers and throwing together a meatloaf, but I know there is more. "Wait on the Lord...." I've been waiting.
How have I been waiting? This is important. Have I been waiting with a white flag waving over my head, or have I been waiting in a ready position. I've been tempted to wave the flag, believe you me. There's only so much rejection, in one's own strength, that I can take. Ministries have flopped over and over, churches have come and gone, language barriers have not changed it seems, and loneliness has been slowly penetrating my resolve press on. More tears have been wept than my whole previous life put together and by God's grace I'm still waiting.
I wait with prayer. There is no other way. I pray for ministries I'd like to be involved in. I love kids. I pray for kids (will soon be up and running again). I pray through songs that I write, I pray nothing will go to my head (not much to worry about as yet). I pray for our resting place, where we finally decide to join fellowship. I pray for the strength to be faithful in the seemingly mundane tasks I have now, and I pray for this ministry. I can not support them financially right now, or sponsor a kid, but I can pray. I can pray that you might be able to support them in this way.
If you have the opportunity to serve, prayerfully do it. Take it from someone who is waiting....don't miss your opportunity.