Posted by: pendrops | August 24, 2006

ends of the earth

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A tremor of guilt shook my heart as I read the missionary’s monthly letter. He was working in Asia, joining with churches, reaching out, touching lives. His report filled the entire front page of the letter, along with pictures of smiling Asian people who were learning to love Jesus. He thanked me for my prayers and partnership and said it was helping him reach people around the world with God’s love. But somehow, my one or two prayers a month and my $20 check didn’t seem like enough.

Still, I accepted his thanks and turned the letter over to find two emails from some of his missionary partners in the Middle East. And that’s what did me in.

The emails told stories of churches shaken by bombs while worship services took place. Accounts of sirens screaming that Galilee and Nazareth were rocket-blasted. Tales of shelters, F-16s, shortages, panic. Destruction, disaster, faith and hope.

I sat with the letter in my hand for a few minutes, trying to imagine what life is like for these missionaries, these warriors who have left comfort and safety for war-ravaged nations and unpredictable conditions. And I started thinking about my own safe life, living in one of the wealthiest cities in the U.S. Where getting outside my comfort zone means going to a different Starbucks. Maybe even the Starbucks near the shadier part of town.

Just when the self-contempt and shame couldn’t get any worse, I remembered something Jesus said. “…and you will tell people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

That’s right, I thought. I can tell people about Jesus anywhere. I don’t have to be in the Middle East or Asia. And when Jesus said the “ends of the earth,” He was talking about my neighborhood, Middle Tennessee; where I work, eat, shop and exercise every day.

Reaching out in my end of the earth includes things like writing a love letter to my husband, having lunch with my brother, and taking time to chat with the barista at Starbucks. And as I remembered Jesus’ words, all of those things seemed just as important as my missionary friend’s trip to the other side of the world.

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