Noticing the Unseen

So, here’s the thing.  I had plans for my day.  I had a clear to do list.  But sometimes you just need to sit and listen.  Sometimes you need to change your plans.

Those who’ve read this blog before know that I tend to focus on the blindspots that thrive in our churches.  I tend to ask questions in order to encourage us to move through the uncomfortable and unsettling ugliness contained in all of us in order to reveal something more lovely.  Someone more loving.

Today my fingers were typing a different message before I ever sat at this keyboard.  My mind was swirling with different thoughts.  What about those among us that are blind to our good?  What about those who need a word to encourage them to stay the course?

I have a friend who has always dreamed of being a missionary in a far away land.  This friend longs for sacrificial service and dramatically impacting forgotten lives.  He yearns to be with, love, and support people that most of the world doesn’t even notice.  He loves getting dirty and messy while building others up.  Short term mission trips have buoyed him on many occasions.   But he still cries out to God to be given the chance to be a full time missionary.

The answer has always been no.  The answer has been trust me.

But still the desire burns bright.  I want to do more!!!

Today my friend needs to know that he is exactly in the right place.  He is unassumingly and quietly reaching those very people that the world doesn’t notice.  His willingness to have coffee with a homeless man goes without fanfare.  His willingness to feed strangers while listening to their stories flies under the radar.  That family budget stretched by purchases for others is a private and personal thing.

He may never get to a foreign and untouched land.  He may never learn the obscure language of a remote culture.

But he has found a mission field that very few even see.  He has become the embodiment of love to the addict, the smelly, the stubborn, the forgotten.

His sacrificial service to the least of these does not earn newspaper articles or convention speeches.  It’s not the flashy subject of Christian biographies.

But it means the world to that man under the bridge.  It means life to the teen cut down from the noose.  It means healing to the woman divorcing the cold man she still loves.

It means the honest to goodness hands and feet of a loving God are among us.  It means that those with open hearts have an example to follow.  An understated and unassuming example.  A person content in the shadows.  A flesh and blood example.

And, to me, that’s a pretty darned good missionary.


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