“Your worth to Him is not dependent on your ability to serve Him…”
I remember reading that comment from a friend on a blog post over and over in a small apartment in Guam as I wrestled with the decision to go home for a few months or back to Yap as I recovered from dengue fever. After reading and taking in various opinions, I was still left with a difficult decision. I knew my body was wiped out after dengue, and from everything I had read and heard, the exhaustion would not get any better for a few months. But it just felt “wrong” to rest. Why?
Because sometimes when you are a volunteer missionary, you feel like the success of the mission depends on you, especially if you’re dealing with chaos or crisis regularly. Even in the most functional mission organizations, there is always a measure of uncertainty and unpredictability. And sometimes, as North Americans, honestly, we struggle with that. We come from a world of planning, predictability, and accountability, and sometimes we trade our true mission to share the Gospel in any context for an obsession to organize and control our context so that it reaches our standards for our own comfort. At least this was my struggle. And I’m guessing it is for some of you as well.
But I learned something that year when God seemed to keep pulling me out of the game in my own personal “time-outs.” I learned that the mission is not about me. The mission is not about eliminating risk or crisis. The mission is not even about my vision for making an organization more functional (or even less dysfunctional). The mission is about Jesus. And that starts with Jesus and me. Am I understanding Jesus’ love for me, and letting Him recreate me? Does my worth come from what I am doing or Who I am serving?
When I start to understand that God actually doesn’t need me, but chooses me to serve in His strength, it makes a big difference. I am free to live in and with the chaos instead of working so hard to contain it. I am free to live out the Gospel of grace even in a dysfunctional system. I am free to try hard things and fail, and to be patient with the imperfections of others. I am free to be grateful and content no matter what because I realize that this mission is about Jesus and belongs to Jesus.
If you’re struggling with managing the chaos around you or inside you, just take a breath, and know that you are loved. Deeply. Let your mind and your body rest in the security of knowing Who is really in control. And always remember that your worth to Jesus is not dependent on your ability to serve Him.
“It was not their own strength that gave them victory. It was by Your mighty power that they succeeded.” Ps. 44:3 (NLT)
*Once or twice a month, we send out a short devotional to our volunteers. This was written by Andrea Keele, and sent on Nov. 20, 2015.