Missions and Messy Lives

Ultimately, missions are about people. And people are messy. Sometimes I feel like saying, “Just let me build a building or teach a class.” I don’t like to get involved in messy lives for the rest of my life. But to help is to get involved, and those who get really involved, let things get messy, and open themselves to relationship, love, and hurt are the ones that are most effective.

This brings to mind the difference between institutional, ineffective orphan homes and ones that actually help kids. In institutional care, the cheapest help is hired to get the job done. They don’t care, and even if they do, they are worked so hard the compassion bleeds out. But under the direction of someone who is actually invested in the lives of the children, a system that encourages authentic relationship and family-like commitment can be built. These are the type of staff who will, for the rest of their lives, remain in contact with the young souls they connected with. These are people who love and have their heart broken and love again, regardless of death or rejection or just the general emotional messiness.


So, to all of you caregivers or workers who love as Jesus did: you make a world of difference, even if you can’t see it. Keep loving. Keep shining. In a dark world, every bit of light counts.


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