Tis the season for mission trips and camps and outreaches and such. My family has our own to look forward to this summer. The other night my oldest daughter was asked if she was going anywhere this summer. She replied with an excited explanation of her upcoming mission trip to Ireland. And then this: It’s my first real mission trip. I mean I’ve done some local things but that doesn’t really count.
I guess she’s right. Reaching out to the local community in service and love doesn’t really count. Only big trips across the pond matter, right?
The times when our family joined others in our community and prayer-walked different parts of the city, declaring God’s everlasting promises and goodness over places seemingly full of despair and defeat. That doesn’t count.
The times we’ve stopped to help someone with a broken down car on the side of the road. That doesn’t count.
The times you have given gifts, coats and cars to those in need. That doesn’t count.
The times you’ve cleaned up and mowed yards and brought food to others. That doesn’t count.
All of those breath prayers you have prayed as the ambulance and fire trucks whizzed by. That doesn’t count.
All of those times you’ve spoken to, sat with and loved on the wounded, the hurt and the hard to love. That doesn’t count.
For all the countless diapers you’ve changed, rejected you’ve held, lonely you have blessed. That doesn’t count.
For all the times you’ve scrambled to put together a last minute dinner for your kids’ friends, toted other kids to ballgames or church and the next day spent the last of your paycheck on your coworker’s lunch. That doesn’t count.
For the countless hours you have spent on your knees in prayer for our soldiers and the numerous times you listened to someone else’s bad day. That doesn’t really count.
I get it. It’s not as glamorous as traveling by plane and getting one more stamp in the passport but it most certainly COUNTS!
For every tear we’ve shed on behalf of someone else’s pain – it counts.
For every joy we’ve experienced because of someone else’s joy – it counts.
For every encouraging word, pat on the back and any positive effort at all – it counts.
For every single heart and hand you have held – it counts.
It counts whether it’s done near or far. It counts no matter the package or cost. It counts no matter who knows, who sees or who cares.
It counts whether the effort is noticed or recognized. It counts.
Do not for a moment under estimate the purpose of the time and place we are destined for. Do not under estimate the power and significance of the mundane, day-to-day, real life moments of extending grace.
What is in your hand? Where do you work? Who are you around all day? Who lives behind you or goes to your school or has a need you can meet? Start there. Do that. Use your resources and go ahead, try it, be Jesus to them! We all have something to give –that’s missional living.
A trip across the ocean is amazing, but so is a trip to the inner-city. A trip to another country is life changing but so is a trip to another neighborhood. A trip on a jet is unforgettable but so is a trip to the grocery store.
Jesus died for every person, every nation, every continent. He charges us to be the LIGHT of the world and for that reason alone – it counts!