As one person told their story she mentioned that she had “given herself to Christ” but never really “followed” Christ.
The first, and only thing that came to mind, and stuck with me the rest of the night, is that I will never fully give myself to Christ, because I just can’t physically do it.
I certainly try to follow Christ. I’d like to think that I really follow him, then I realize that it’s impossible. No matter how much I do, God will ask me to do more. No matter how much I give up, there are others who have given up more.
I went to Jamaica on a mission trip in College. This was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had from college. On that trip I worked at a retirement center, which is being very forgiving, since it was a strip of very small rooms with doorways (no door mind you) to the porch outside. If you think of the cells monks have, or even cells in a prison without the bars, this is it. There was a large room for eating and communing and such, and a gorgeous church someone built in the back (I’m still not sure why when the building could have been upgraded). When we drove up I was sure I was at the wrong place.
During the day I helped a little, but more than anything I just sat and talked to the people. I remember one guy who wasn’t much older than I was who had lived in the U.S. and played basketball until he had an accident which severed his spine. He’s been living there in a wheelchair ever since. He was probably the most upbeat, faithful, and interesting/fun guys I’ve ever met. He’s able to share a story about his religion or about his life, and just chat with you about whatever comes to mind. His commitment to Christ surpasses the need to talk about Him all the time and instead be an example of Him and he’s willing to share whenever it fits naturally in a conversation.
Other days I went to an elementary school and helped teach. Honestly, I don’t remember much about the class except that it was one big room with cube panels dividing it into four sections, one for each class. What I do remember is that all these families lived in miles upon miles of corrugated metal homes. They got power my climbing a power line and jacking into the power there, running a cable at about eye level that was held above the ground in one place by a stick with a Y in the top. I also remember lots of goats running around and, let me tell you, they weren’t as pets. Have you ever thought of being your own butcher?
A good example is a picture the people from Africa brought back during their mission trip.
After school one day I was asked to bring a television from the school to the house of one of the teachers. I went into the house and was stunned. Inside rugs, colorful fabric and even chairs greeted me. It felt immediately cozy and very easy to call home. There was even a doorway to another room. In contrast we stopped by the governors house.
I can’t imagine living in tiny houses like this, and yet these are people who have made their lives there, and recognize them as incredibly comfortable. Every time I go on a mission trip outside the U.S. I recognize just how much we have, and how little we appreciate it.
There are many times when I recognize that if we really do give ourselves to Christ, we would be spending every moment of that life in communities that could use our help. We would move our families to the regions most in need, and commit our lives to them. Simply, we would become life-long missionaries, even if it’s within our community, because anything else wouldn’t do Him justice.
There are people who live without any comforts, and somehow they find comfort. They live without any reason to have faith, yet they are able live and share that faith for more successfully than I can.
In short, even if I gave up everything and lived a life committed to Christ, there would still by thousands more that do an even better job of it. More importantly, Christ would still recognize that I could do even more.
So… I guess I’d better start trying to emulate those people and Christ as soon as possible so I can catch up!
P.S. In case you’re wondering, this is not a statement that I’m going to uproot life and become a missionary. Family trumps everything, yet another reason I never will fully follow Christ. I’ll always be considering other people.