{Day 20} Love God. Love People.

I first “felt called” (and yes, that is exactly how I would have said it) to missions in sixth grade. I was 12, I was growing in my faith, moving beyond understanding Christ only as my Savior to also experiencing the fullness of Christ as my Lord, I was beginning to develop a strong love for Scripture, I desired to share Christ with others, and I had just come across a short-term summer mission trip with a reputable missions organization.

The timing seemed perfect, and I was certain that the Lord had provided this specific opportunity for me to witness and minister to others – that this was part of THE call for my life, a stepping stone to a potential life on the mission field – and I really wanted to go.

Only one problem. My parents said “no”. With good reason, of course. I was 12. The trip was to a country in South America (my top three choices would have been listed on the application, though I also distinctly remember wanting to serve on the trip to the Dominican Republic). Although the missions organization was fairly well known, my parents weren’t very familiar with it. And the trip was about $1300.

I was hurt and angry because (in my 12 year old mind) my parents’ decision seemed completely irrational…not to mention they were standing in the way of God’s call, right? (Don’t worry, Mom, I now see the wisdom in that decision.) Eventually, I decided one roadblock wouldn’t be the end to my God-given call, so I kept praying about it (which I think my parents actually recommended) – all the while desperately seeking to do God’s will – and asked the Lord to confirm this call to missions.

While not going into great detail (at least not yet), in some way or another, I have been attempting to discern and/or confirm this calling ever since. I’ve been fascinated by those in Scripture who received clear and obvious calls, I’ve been interested in hearing stories of those around me who are certain of their calls, and I’ve repeatedly asked the Lord where and how He is leading. . .for the better part of 15 years.

And while He’s always been faithful to provide the next step in HIS time (which is rarely the same as MY time), it seems that much of what I’ve encountered over the years has been roadblock after roadblock. Every time I’ve thought “this is IT”, something has been in the way.

But although I haven’t always recognized it, thinking back to some of those times when my call (to a ministry organization, to a particular mission trip, to a specific person, to a life of service) has seemed most certain, there have always been two consistent factors that compelled me to the call in the first place and gripped me to the core:

Love God. Love People.

When it comes to understanding my call – whether that’s to pursue mission work vocationally at some point or not, whether all those roadblocks are a “no” or a “not yet” – maybe that’s enough. For now.

Sometimes discerning, understanding, and pursuing a {God given} call seems complicated and unknown. But when that call is stripped of the peripheral issues – the details, the worries, the plans, the fears – what’s left is simple and familiar.

“Jesus answered, ‘The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.'”

Mark 12:29-31 (ESV – emphasis added)

3 thoughts on “{Day 20} Love God. Love People.

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