Thursday, September 29, 2016
Last weekend, I was at a Work & Witness conference in Columbus, Ohio (U.S.). There, I was given a bracelet. It says: "What's In Your Hands? Passion and Purpose, Exodus 4:2." It refers to Moses. God asks him what is in his hands. It's a staff -- a shepherd’s staff. With this staff, Moses shepherds an entire nation out of captivity and into freedom. That's a big, important thing to hold in your hands.
The man who gave me the bracelet is a missionary. He has a lot in his hands. He's a pilot, has significant medical training, years of experience in law enforcement, and he runs the communications department for the entire region of Asia-Pacific. There are more things in his hands but I forget them all. It's a lot. He's one of those superhero missionaries. So is his wife. And they are probably the only ones who’d deny it.
Me? I clean toilets right now. What's in my hand? A mop handle. A cleaning rag. A nasty toilet bowl wand.
I'm a missionary, too, but I'm not a superhero missionary. I'm brand new, with just a wisp of experience under my belt. I only do media. And, in this moment, I'm not even on the mission field. Right now, I'm a janitor. But I'm still a missionary. I still have things in my hands. God and I have been walking on this journey of discovery as to what exactly it means to be a missionary. Because, I'll be honest, I don't think you have to cross oceans to be a missionary. And I know my superhero missionary would be the first to insist that he is no more important than the average lay-person.
My very best missionary stories aren't in the Philippines or Nairobi. I've never stood up in front of a crowd and delivered a heart-changing sermon. I've never planted a church. My best stories are here, in the United States, at work, with a mop in my hands. It's the moments when God whispers, "love this person, they need to hear from Me" and I do just that.
Being a janitor isn't glamorous. It's not easy. It's stressful and gross and I work with a lot people who are neither happy nor shiny. I work with broken people. I work with people who are tired of the world and ready to rip each other to shreds at the drop of a hat. This is what I call a hands-on mission.
I scrub toilets. And I talk to people. I listen to them. I smile and am polite and respectful. I blast my worship music and sing along. And I let Jesus use me to breathe life and peace into a workplace that is gross and stressful. They all know who I am. They all know I'm a Christian. One guy at work is always saying things like, "You don't get very worried, do you?" and I'll tell him "No, I trust Jesus. I don't need to be worried" and then we discuss missions and life and I wonder what he's dealing with that prompts him to ask me those sorts of questions.
Reaching out to each other isn't optional. God didn't say "go and make disciples but only if you're a pastor." The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. This is the second greatest commandment! That's pretty significant. That's for everyone to obey, not just those of us who can pin the title "missionary" or "pastor" to our lapels.
You have something in your hands. It might not be glamorous. It's probably not overseas. It might be stressful and hard to deal with, but it's yours and you can use it for building God's kingdom. You can use it love people. And, honestly? Using what God has given us is not optional, it’s expected of us.
So, how about it? What's in your hands?
-- Rebecca Moisio recently returned from six months as a Nazarene Mission Corps media missionary with the Asia-Pacific Region communications team. Currently, she is raising funds for her next assignment in video production and communications with the Eurasia Region, through Mission Corps. She is a graduate from Olivet Nazarene University with a degree in Mass Communications: TV/Video Production.