I didn't understand until last week while sitting in a basement in the heart of New York City. We were at missionary de-briefing and re-entry at the Mission Training Center under DNI, and it was then that i caught at least a small reason of why my time in Africa was so far removed from what i had always imagined it would look like. I didn't lead one person to Christ.......never so much as led a Bible study. What i didn't realize was that my Heavenly Father, in his mercy, wanted to teach me to serve in the smallest of ways in order to show me one of the greatest ways to live.
As i processed those two years in Kenya out loud last week, my mouth fell open as i realized what God saved me from. I went with a pure heart but a rather condescending one. I think it's a common enough trap to fall into it and many of us are guilty of it. We mean well but subconsciously we think we are going with the answers to hand out to the poor savages who haven't any at all. Instead of humbling ourselves to serve, we go to be served even if we would never in a million years recognize it. We don't understand their culture, nor do we really try to, and they certainly don't understand ours and we end up playing a game where everyone's the loser. If i would've done many "spiritual" things, i'm afraid i would've came back insufferable, my spiritual ego inflated and my heart quietly (or not so quietly) condescending towards the people at "home" who never had the courage to leave at all. Instead, i was allowed to serve Jesus through a cup of cold water........over and over and over again. I came back humbled and with few answers. However, i do know this.
Jesus WILL build His church and He needs servants to do that. Humble servants without all the answers but with teachable hearts. God will not be robbed of His glory by anyone, and that includes middle aged, missionary women in dresses who have lofty dreams of reaching people for His name. I am now reaching the place where my heart is worshiping Him in allowing me to learn those painful, exhausting lessons that has taken so much out of me. He is a good Daddy who has been, and still is, tenderly rubbing away my tears, pruning those sharp edges of spiritual pride, and teaching me the joys of serving Him in the humblest of ways. In my heart is still a bit of a longing to climb back into an airplane and try it again. I have absolutely no idea if i will ever be given that privilege. For now, i will hand that cup of water to whoever He asks me to and in doing so, rejoice that i am allowed the honor.