I was cruising through my regular blog reads yesterday when I came across the following. In describing an upcoming mission trip to Russia that her husband is taking, Llama Momma writes this:
Iâ€™m thrilled to see my husband go on this trip. As a young college student at Urbana, he felt a distinct call to missions. Not to go, but to send. When we began dating seriously, he shared this call with me, as it would affect our life together in a major areaâ€“â€“our finances.
I got chills when I read this. I meet my fair share of people who are pursuing some specific call to serve, be it in an urban setting or overseas. I work for a mission agency that sends folks like this across the globe to plant churches in the world’s slums and I live in a missional community in South Central, L.A. so I am pretty familiar with those people called and convicted to go. I am less familiar with what Llama Momma describes here: a person, a family, committed to sending. And not committed in the casual send a check once in a while way, but in the way where it is something that has to be discussed prior to marriage because it will have that much impact on a family’s finances.
I have learned a great deal this past year about what generosity can look like, and I have seen its many shapes and forms. And reading Llama Momma’s post reminded me of how that kind of generosity can be a calling. It is often appropriately unseen, the sending. It is easy to identify those serving in the field. It is a much more hidden work done by the many who pray and give and offer housing and cars and network on behalf of those who go. And because of that hiddenness, it is perhaps the harder faithfulness to model. Lots of people can point to a missionary hero. I imagine that many would be hard-pressed to name their “giving heroes”. While I totally support quiet giving (scripture clearly speaks of the need for this), I also would like to see more giving testimonies in the church: people sharing the stories of how they are worshiping God with the resources they have been given.
In our church, we speak of “living simply”, and that is a membership commitment we all make to one another. This has a lot to do with dealing with combating our love for things, freeing us from something, but it has as much to do with what it frees for. We say it this way: “Live simply so as to practice generosity”.
I hear a lot of people talk about simplicity and this seems like a popular theme. I don’t hear the same level of conversation when it comes to generosity.
Doug and I have a very dear friend who works with Servant Partners in their internship program. It is her job to train and pastor classes of interns over the course of their two years, with the goal of preparing many individuals for service overseas or in urban communities here in the U.S.. She herself was an intern in the program five years ago, and as part of her training, she was mentored by Doug in the area of worship leading. I can still remember gathering in my sister’s living room in those early days of our church plant and listening to Jade’s voice fill the room as she and Doug led us in singing. We just got an email from her while on this trip describing her critical need in the area of finances. All of our staff members at Servant Partners fundraise their salaries, and our dear friend is in dire need for new financial partners if she is to continue her work. After receiving a generous gift from someone, we were able to tithe that money to her and help her out in the short term, but we are now joining with her in praying for new supporters to come alongside her in her work.
On this day of considering hopes and dreams for the year to come, I wonder if there might be someone called to a mission like Llama Momma’s husband who would feel prompted to join us in supporting the work of our friend for the sake of the kingdom. The thing about blogging that has surprised me the most is how genuine, life-changing connection can happen through this unusual medium and it is in that spirit, and with a conviction from the Spirit, that I put this need out there. Contact me using the contact form in the sidebar if the Spirit is speaking to you too.