Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Recently as I was preparing to leave for a mission trip, my spirit became deeply cluttered.
Just thinking about it was causing me a lot of worry and pre-guilt. Would I be able to handle being with children in extreme poverty, often with physical and/or mental disabilities? Several people with much more mission experience than I warned me that I would be heartsick, broken, and overwhelmed with my own underserved blessings.
So, I prayed, and I fasted, and then I went to Jamaica—not the touristy part. At the Jamaica School for the Deaf, I painted. Then I mixed and carried concrete to help make a ramp for a student in a wheelchair. At the West Haven Orphanage, I sung songs to severely disabled children and adults while reaching out and touching them as much as I could. I snuggled toddlers at the Blossom Garden Children’s Orphanage, and I ran a VBS experience at an Early Learning Center down the road from the school for the deaf.
I tried to jump into every job with both feet and pray continuously that our work would bring about more of God’s Kingdom on earth! I prayed that each child and adult we encountered would feel the love of Christ. I opened my heart to His presence and waited for that third-world devastation to hit my first-world heart… but somehow it didn’t. At least, not as I’d expected it to.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed at the burdens of the Jamaican children (and disabled adults), I felt so glad that they were in these special facilities where they were cared for and loved with the love of Christ! Instead of feeling slightly guilty that my family is blessed with nearly perfect health, I was filled with joy seeing the children holding hands with friends who were just like them. Instead of wondering why God had blessed me with so much when they had so little, I started formulating plans of how my family could use our resources to bless these people more.
And I thought of the Rich Young Ruler—a good, faithful guy who happened to be blessed with lots and lots of stuff (a guy just like us, in fact). According to Mark, Jesus looked at him and loved him. Then He told him he lacked one thing he needed to get into Heaven.
Note, Jesus didn’t say, “Sorry, you have too much to come with us.” He said, “One thing you lack.” Though Jesus doesn’t say what that is, I believe it was a heart that was All In for the Lord. The Rich Young Ruler was deriving his sense of worth, security, and joy from his stuff instead of his God. Jesus was challenging him to let go of all of that and follow Him with a truly dedicated heart.
Jesus looks at us, surrounded by all of our blessings, and loves us, too. His call to us is the same: Get All In.
We can be blessed with family, friends, health, talents, and even belongings, and still be All In. We can enjoy our blessings without cluttering our spirit. We can witness God’s suffering children in this fallen world first-hand, and still think of our blessings without guilt—if we are dedicating them all to the Lord!
Take the Challenge: Check out this one-minute video of Carrie Ann, one of the disabled adults I met at the West Haven Orphanage. If you know “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High,” sing along with her! Lift His name on high, then spend some time in prayer asking God how He’s calling you to be All In with your blessings…
Lord, I do lift Your Name on High!
Lord, are you calling me to give more of my time to You?
Are you calling me to give more of my talents to You?
Are you calling me to give more of my money to You?
Lord, I am All In.
Have you been on a mission trip and felt the same, or differently? I’d love to hear from you.
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