one of the many things we have learned is that ministry work is not sexy. we can be tricked into thinking that it is. like in any career, our flesh wants to be recognized. we all have ambitions, and we like to feel successful. being "career missionaries" doesn't change that.
so for me, its been a process. on one hand, i want our supporters to know that we're getting things done, working hard, changing lives, and sharing jesus with people. i want to assure them that God is doing amazing things. on the other hand, God assures that if these things are happening, the glory is solely his, and none is reserved for me. as i grow as a christian, i consider this an honor. the more i love him, the less credit i want, and the more uncomfortable i feel when praised.
he has taught me through his wonderful and living word that feeling good about myself, feeling appreciated and successful, is not part of the equation. that humility and hard work far outweighs recognition and praise. that everybody doesn't need to know all that we do, and that our work is to be focused towards eternal glory rather than earthly. (read the challenging passage below!)
all of this leaves me thankful for our friends and supporters. they are the ones that continue supporting our work and our vision. knowing all the while that its not a quick-fix. its not going to leave them feeling warm and fuzzy every day. but rather that we work toward long-term, generational changes. any parent knows that raising young boys into godly men is not going to happen quickly or easily.
we hope to have "success stories" to share along the way. but its a fight against the flesh to want to force them.
i am comforted by Gods word. humility, steadfastness, renewal of the heart and mind, patience, and not growing weary as we seek the see the fruit of our work... all biblical truths that force me to turn from my flesh and what it naturally longs for.
Lord, keep us humbly devoted to you and to the job you have assigned us. let these boys, their families and their village be our focus and our energy. let us not seek recognition for what we do, but let the goal of every day be that seeds are planted, watered and nurtured in secret - and your church may grow larger and stronger and your name may be glorified in heaven and on earth!
"Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding. When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out."
Matthew 6: 1-4 (The Message)