September 29, 2008

“Um, I’m kind of a big deal.”

As my time in the U.S. comes to an end, I’ve learned something new about what it’s like to be a missionary, particularly in social situations. Oddly, it’s the converse of something I wrote about earlier. I said in a previous post that I often feel like I am not worthy of some of the praise people direct at me for deciding to be a missionary, that they must have the wrong person. In many ways, I’ve continued to feel that way on this trip. Lots of people praise me in many ways that I find wholly unjustifiable.

But sometimes… and only sometimes I’ve thought to myself that perhaps I am deserving of a little bit more respect than I get. This hasn’t cropped up very often but occasionally I’ve spoken to individuals who just don’t show any interest in my work. That’s fine - if there’s one thing I’ve learned on this trip it is that global mission is not everyone’s passion - but I find myself thinking in these situations that these people are missing out on a great opportunity to learn about another part of the world. In a similar way, I found myself a little stung when a church decided to give me less money this year for my personal support than they did last year. Now, clearly, I don’t have any special insight into this church’s finances and there are lots of worthy causes and people to support each year so I could see how they arrived at their decision, but part of me was left thinking that I deserved a bit more.

I won’t press this thought much further because really that is as far as it has gone. Overwhelmingly, still, I am in that I-am-not-worthy frame of mind I discussed in that earlier post. But sometimes…

The epistle I preached on this morning (Phillippians 2) contains that great piece of advice, “In humility, regard others as better than yourself.”