Thursday, December 19, 2013

When the Missionary Becomes the Mission Field

Eventually they get thrown out.  The people they trust get their nasty on and put them out like trash, wiping their hands back and forth as if to say "We never wanted your kind here in the first place."

I've seen it happen many times.  Men of God - hard working men - who are called into ministry and try their best to obey, to serve, to lead, keeping in mind that one person can not please everyone. 

Sooner or later these men do something to tick someone off.  Not just any someone.  Someone who is connected to the ear of a board member.  The ticked off party starts mouthing off a little bit - complaining (gossiping?) if you will - to his friends.  They in turn do likewise and eventually the entire organization is abuzz with discontented opinions about which "the board" feels the need to act.

Then come the secret meetings.  Shhhhh!!  We can't let so-and-so know we are meeting tonight because the meeting is about him.  Sheesh!  There ain't nothin wrong with that picture, eh?

Then there is the big public ugly that has to happen so that in case anyone had any doubt about what a scumbag this godly man is, they will have an opportunity to witness a grotesquely humiliating public flogging after which God's called servant has little choice but to get out of Dodge like a drunk being thrown from the saloon into the horse trough. 

Trouble is that most of the time these men haven't disobeyed the Lord.  They haven't acted immorally or done or taught anything unbiblical.  They simply ticked off the wrong person. So they got thrown out. Goodbye.  Adios.  Don't let the door hit you on the way out.  That's it then.  we officially wash our hands of you.  Oh, and by the way ... here's an envelope of money - a "love gift" - because we care about you SOOOOOOOO MUCH.

Soooo .... what happens next?  To the man of God I mean?  What's next for him, his wife, their children, their friends?

Um ... Uh ... You mean he still exists????  Even after we threw the bum out?

Well, yeah.  He still exists, he still has mouths to feed, a mortgage, children, car payments, etc ...
Oh, yeah, and he likely isn't eligible for unemployment.  Nice, eh?

This godly man who was called by God into the mission field ... IS the mission field now.  He needs help.  He needs all those things we tout ourselves as being called to do.  Fuel for the furnace.  Food for the table.  Clothing for his family to wear.  Cash to pay his bills.  He needs our prayers.  He also needs a good job placement counselor and relocation services.  Oh, yeah, and a good Christian psychologist would be good, too. He and his family need all those things he has led us to do for others.  He is now one of those "others."

So, before you vote to throw some poor bum out, stop and pray about it.  And after you have considered all the options and still come to the conclusion that he has to go, please be sure to understand the long-term commitment of changing a missionary into a mission field. 

Don't just leave him in the desert.