I live in a town of 112,000. So when I hear a rustling noise out my back door on a spring afternoon, I assume it is a city-dwelling robin. Or maybe a squirrel. Certainly not this.
Since this taping, this perky little creature has been hanging around my place a lot. Today she (?) came bustling over to greet me when I got home.
Where does she come from? What is so yummy on my patio? And more importantly: how can I get a jaunty little hat like that?
"Mis-sio-nary (noun): someone who leaves their family for a short time, so that others may be with their families for Eternity."
This is a plaque I saw for sale at a local thrift store, and it got me fired up.
It was more than an editor's reaction to the incorrect possessive pronoun (the first "their" should be "his").
I mean... "Leaves family"? "Short time"?? (Yes, I just used double punctuation. I feel strongly about this.)
So I drafted three different posts in response.
But the first was far too snarky, the second was chock full of nauseating righteous indignation, and the third was both extremely boring and embarrassingly juvenile.
Thus, I'll cut down the commentary.
If you're a Latter-day Saint, you may not understand what my problem is with this definition. That's okay. I would rather spend the time on more crucial definitions, like "grace" or "saved".
And if you're a Christian... Oh, dear Christian.
There are over 50,000 missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints currently serving around the world. They do this, at least ostensibly, "so that others may be with their families for eternity."
May I ask: what drives you to participate in missions (pray, give and/or go)? Is it a biblical motivation?
Lord, lay waste to our pride, our pretenses, our fears, our mindless habits, our feelings of obligation, our faulty concepts of success—and all other wrong motives as we seek to live the Great Commission.
This is why I keep returning to II Corinthians for a realignment of my motives:
Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.
He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
(In which I
lie lay down aside my instinct and laud praise something quite very much beyond my help.)
As a compulsive editor, I am constantly reanalyzing pieces I have written or things I have said. (I just rewrote that very sentence five times before moving on. Sigh.) But occasionally I say or write something that I still agree with the next morning. And every once in a great while, I believe in it even more strongly as time goes on. This is one of those rare instances.
A couple months ago, a new acquaintance found out I'm a "preacher's kid". He immediately inquired whether I felt obligated to enter the ministry for myself. My written reply:
No, I don't think I ever felt obligated to go into ministry. It was a very natural progression and Lord-willing I'll spend the rest of my life in some sort of ministry role. It's all grace, though, that any of us is useful in any way to the King, isn't it?
Soon I'll be transitioning from serving as a tentmaking missionary to a full-time missionary. In one sense, it's a big step: resigning from a career that I love, likely leaving Utah temporarily to raise more support, participating in additional training, taking on more responsibility for KEY Radio and possibly Provo Bible Church. And then there are the increased spiritual battles... I expect these demons of doubt will invite their friends and relations for a party or two in Karisa's head.
Then again—in light of what I wrote (and still believe!)—this is no change at all. It's still grace. No more, no less than before. And I still marvel at the thought that the King finds me (me! for goodness' sake) useful in any way.
Tomorrow I will re-read this post and wish I had better punctuated a sentence or chosen a crisper adjective. But I will not think differently about the substance. So faultless, so generous, so strong, so trustworthy is God's grace that I cannot improve upon it one iota.