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Humility in Service

Humility in Service

I would argue that the MOST important item to pack for your mission trip isn’t any physical item at all, but rather, an emotional one - humility.

Bethany Richardson | Mar 8, 2018

No matter what you may think, your mission trip isn’t about you. Even if you are a doctor coming to give medical care to a community. Even if you are a teacher going to teach a classroom of students. Even if you are a normal teenager, excited to share the Gospel. It’s not about you. It’s about Christ and His Kingdom and His plans. This past Sunday my pastor spoke on what it means to be meek. Meekness is not a word we normally use in our day to day life. And not a word that we typically use as a positive when referring to someone. Because in our culture, we equate meek with weak: a pushover, spineless or without passion. But David says in Psalm 37:11, “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” How do we reconcile those two vastly different narratives? I think it begins with recognizing that meekness is closer in likeness to humility, or like the definition my pastor gave, “an honest view of one’s own self.” It’s no lie, the Lord highly values a humble servant. I would argue that the MOST important item to pack for your mission trip isn’t any physical item at all, but rather, an emotional one - humility. Preferably in large quantities, and enough to share with the whole team if needed. A wholesale-size-from-Sam’s, “it will only fit in the 50 pound suitcase” kind of humility. One of the most dangerous things we can do on short-term mission trips is to think more of ourselves than those we are going to serve alongside. To come into a mission trip slapping one another on the back or puffing ourselves up, is setting everyone involved up for an unhealthy partnership. Humility (or meekness) is the immediate antidote to all of that arrogance and pride. Remember earlier when I mentioned my pastor's definition of meekness? An honest view of one’s own self. When we can take an honest look at ourselves, we come away with a raw inventory of our flaws and errors. This honesty grounds us to the truth that God is the only Savior. It confirms that we are in desperate need of His grace and mercy in every moment of our lives. Short-term missions can get a bad rap for its tendency to create or foster a “savior mentality,” both domestically and internationally. Often times we bristle at this accusation, but I think it’s important to honestly survey our hearts and intentions to ensure we aren’t falling prey to this train of thought. It begins by innocently thinking that we are going on a trip to “help.” But if we aren’t careful, that little seed can root deeply in our hearts and grow into something not so beautiful. We take on an arrogance that WE have somehow come to “save” or that we know better than our local hosts. The Pelican Life is passionate about ensuring we avoid the "savior" mentality. Furthermore, it challenges us to learn what the "savior mentality" is and how to identify it within our own hearts, so we can squash it before it puts down roots. Chances are, if you’ve been on a few mission trips, you’re learning that your partnership church and community have more to teach you than you could ever teach them. Chances are, you’re returning each year more on fire for God and with a renewed faith, due to your experiences serving with your partnership church friends. And chances are, it’s naturally fostering a humble spirit within your heart and soul. God isn’t surprised by this. It’s one of the beautiful gifts that come out of serving on a mission trip, with brothers and sisters in Christ from another place. We learn from one-another about God’s truths. We inspire one-another in our faith journeys. We fan the flames of Christ within our souls and we feel at peace when we serve together. So before journeying out on your mission trip, remember to take an assessment of your intentions and heart and be sure to grasp onto that humility that is so important, with both hands. And remember, it’s not about you. It’s about Christ and His Kingdom and His plans. Next Steps: Living the Pelican Life is not about going and serving in exotic locations, it's about taking the lessons we learn on the mission field and applying them to our daily lives. It's about living a life ON MISSION every day. Find a leader in your community who is doing ministry (a teacher, a pastor, a friend, a parent, etc). Schedule a time sit with them and learn about what God is doing through their ministry.

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