The unexpected is part of every mission and every ministry. If you don’t believe that, just ask your pastor. And those who have been EquipUs mission volunteers all know the Burnett Beatitude:
Blessed are the flexible for they shall not get bent out of shape!
That line is not original with me, but I have certainly made good use of it. It reminds volunteers, and ME, that we will encounter the unexpected. And when it comes, we should not be surprised. There have been several unexpected things in this week’s UN-mission (see UN-seen Mission).
There is a reason God’s work contains things we cannot anticipate. But before we go there, here are two of those items that apply our current mission week.
First, prior to our departure, I received a call from a friend who has volunteered for several missions. He is well aware of the work we do and continues to support it. He had quite a few hygiene kits. Those are what I have called ‘gallon bag mission projects’ and almost anyone can do that. Ten to twelve dollars will fill a gallon bag with school supplies, fishing supplies, hygiene items, or other helpful things a church can use for outreach and/or evangelism. My friend’s question was:
Can you use these bags?
You already know what I said. Those bags suddenly became an unexpected (by me) project for the current mission team. More than that, he had so many that the next TWO volunteer teams will also be distributing them. We have given them to our local ministry partners here and they will put Gospel tracts and other things into the bags prior to distribution. UN-seen (by us) hands that put those bags together. They were UN-expected by our current team. And now the UN-seen and the UN-expected are working together to provide tools that God knew long ago would be needed and used here.
We had a project on our agenda before we left home. Planning is a good thing. We always plan but we always know Who is really is charge!
Pastor Jerlin received a call late Sunday afternoon. The caller said they wanted to donate all the material and the labor for the project we were planning to do. Remember the Burnett Beatitude! And of course the donation was accepted, as it should have been. That was good news, not bad news. Our response: Celebrate and FLEX!
UN-expected: A Necessity
Believers need to get a handle on this idea: We are not in charge!.We should plan, but we should not get our nose out of joint when God steps in and interrupts our plan. His ways and His thoughts are as high above ours as the heavens are above the earth (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Furthermore, the unexpected will ALWAYS be part of life for us. Why? Because without faith it is impossible to please Him. And the very idea of faith contains that which we do not know. If we knew it ahead of time, it wouldn’t be faith. Get used to it.
Man makes his plans, but God directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9). And our steps will take us through the unanticipated. Our plans are not fixed or unchangeable, but our faith and obedience must be.
More of the UN-mission next time!