Mission Trip Love

If you have ever been on a summer mission trip you know that mission trip love happens. There you are, hot and sweaty, dirty, serving Jesus like crazy, and you are suddenly lovestruck. You look into the eyes of the people you are serving, the kids and the men and women, and you want nothing else but to be with these people, serving these people for as long as you can.

Compassionate handsSuddenly your heart is full of compassion, you treat people with kindness, you serve humbly, you are meek and patient, and you bear with all the challenges of your trip because you want to show the love of Jesus. You want to see people accept Christ and begin to reform and reshape their world in the name of Jesus. And that takes an expression of love from you. You are thankful for the Gospel and everything God has ever provided for you. You sing heartily with your team members each night thanking God for the day’s events. To your surprise you are beginning to live out Colossians 3:12-17. The pattern of humility set forth by Christ in Philippians 2:3-8 doesn’t seemed so far fetched, it seems within reach. You have never loved Jesus and others more than right now. You would give anything, do anything to love these people you are serving.

Until you get on the plane home.

Suddenly, the plane is to hot sitting on the run way, you want your Coke now and you want it with ice, that stewardess sure seems rude, and your team….well…you are done being patient with them, all you need now is some of your own space, your Coke, and your music on your phone.

You get home and all the pressures of life assault you. Back to work, school, bills, family, friends, recreation, and you begin pursuing all the things that make you happy. But wear did the love go? You are impatient, demanding, uncompassionate, unkind, proud, and not the least bit thankful for your position and opportunities in life. The prescription for Christian love and relationships in Colossians 3:12-17 that you tasted so vividly just a few short days ago is gone.

As I was reflecting on a mission trip I recently took leading a team from Risen Life Church to Guatemala, God prompted my heart to begin seeing people in my own daily circle differently. What if I began to view the people I regularly see, my family, my neighbors, my friends, and the immigrant workers at the store, with the same love that I had for the people I was working with overseas? Since my trip, as I interact with my kids, my wife, and whoever comes my way I have been asking myself, “How do I love this person in the same way I loved the people I was serving over there?” God give me the eyes to see them with your love, the love I experienced even for a short time overseas. With every interaction I have been demanding myself to love with the same love. I am praying that God would help me to see people through the same lens that I experienced overseas.

Who knows maybe you can even fall in love while on mission. If you have been on a short-term mission trip, or even a long-term trip, ask yourself what it would look like if you loved people at home in the same way you did overseas. That love you experienced for others overseas in your own heart is exactly the love God wants to form in you for to be expressed in every relationship you have.

Put on then as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bear with one another, forgive one another, PUT ON LOVE, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, sing psalms and hymns, with thankfulness to God, and whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. And maybe, just maybe, you will begin to do nothing out of selfish ambition, begin to count others more important than yourselves, look to the interests of others, and begin to take on the mind of Christ. This is his will for you and for his people that take his name. (This is a collage of Colossians 3:12-17 and Philippians 2:1-11.)

After all, Christ was lovestruck on mission for the Father as he looked into our eyes, and he has asked us to follow him in love, on mission, at home and abroad. Mission trip love can happen.

Fall in love for the sake of the Gospel.

*The image above was used in accordance with the licensing agreements of WikiCommons and in no way reflects the views of the artist that produced the image.
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