Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why I Pack Heat

"... but she, out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on." - Jesus

First off, sorry about the picture. It's a gold-mine for social commentary. But that's not what I'm using it for today. If you own a belt buckle like this, you just might be a red-neck.
What I'm going to write about is how I'm in the scary business of asking people for money. It can be sort of painful, sometimes, maybe, sort-of. I'm really not that generous of a person myself, especially when I think of my time, my resources, and the "me monster" that lives within.

I've been told that I'm presenting people with an opportunity to give to ministry, something for which they will be blessed. And I agree. But my problem remains, I still have to ask said people for money. The words of "Will you give hand me your wallet for a sec?" have to come out of my mouth. Actually I find this isn't the best tack to take, most of the time anyway.

I, like many of you, often wish I could just have a "regular" job. My job has me feeling a little unstable. And as unstable as I am already, it's like playing with black powder - something my cousin experienced is a little more explosive than he thought. Even though I like "things going boom real big," I'll take his word for it for now, crazy cuz'.

"Do we have any takers for total dependency? Nobody. Really?!" The fact is right now I'm probably supposed to be calling people to drum up support and partnerships. But I just don't feel like it. I rarely do. I've met a few mad people who enjoy support raising, and I have to chalk their condition up to a severe chemical imbalance.

Perhaps their mom raised them on Starbuck's Coffee and Spree Candy. Whatever got them into the condition they're in, I pity them for I know that they can't really be enjoying what they're doing. One day all their pent-up strangeness will turn on them, and they'll be sorry for ever enjoying support raising. And I'll be watching.

Now I want you to know that I'm writing with my tongue thoroughly embedded in my cheek (I might have a cold sore. Ever notice how they taste like metal?). I actually do have many fun and enjoyable times in raising support. Many people are generous beyond their means, as in the verse above, but I also meet many people like me.

I don't know where all of this rambling is leading. "Where's it leading self?" Self, "I don't know, I'll drop subconscious a note." Subconscious, "Don't waste your time, I'm really busy..."

One thing I've been thinking about "the asking for money thing" is how it really puts me in a position of trust. I've got to trust that God will bring fruit from my efforts and that when I ask people they won't chase me down in order to threaten me with various and sundry unpleasant potential science projects (Using "sundry" in a sentence is source of great pride for me. I shall repent in many various and sundry ways.)

I know I'm not the first missionary to think of "packing heat" to my support appointments. Guns have the weirdest effect. Whenever you see somebody point a gun at someone else, the individual being pointed at pretty much always does whatever the dude with the gun wants. It's amazing! They do stuff even if they don't want to! Sometimes they do things they really really don't want to do, like give away their last Skittle. It's a fascinating sociological mystery that I'm sure someone in a lab coat will get to the bottom of someday.

But a gun, appropriately used, perhaps subtly laid beside my coffee cup, would enliven my discussions and get people talking in the directions I like. Whatever direction I like in fact. I find that if I wanted to talk about my old hobby of collecting "My Little Ponies" with my brother (yes Taylor, it's you), whoever I am talking to would gush on about "My Little Ponies"- how cute they are, how wonderful, how amazing with their glittering manes and tails and on and on. It's a curious reaction that I'm "imagining" (in case you're wondering).

But God doesn't hold a gun to us, does he? And here we see someone giving way above their means, in fact giving all they have. If any of you feel guilt ridden by the story, I'm with you, and if you want me to relieve you of a portion of your guilt I will gladly send you my giving info. And I won't even use a gun. Just kidding!!! About sending my giving info of course. Or the gun. I dunno.

Now in the past, I've made it a rule not to talk much about support-raising, or at least cast it in any sort of negative light. But what kind of lovey-dovey reality do I live in? Do I live where every thing is just fancy-pancy all the time and I prance around with sparkly ponies and chase rainbows. No. Hmm. No, that's my brother, Taylor.

I hope you all can detect the sarcasm, or language of the devil (as my Grandmother calls it), in this entry. I thought that you may enjoy getting inside the head of a fully-supported missionary for a little while. Especially one as goofy as me (On a side note to a side note: send me a comment if you loathe Goofy as much as I do.).

And I thought I'd have something positive to share from this story of the widow. I actually do, I'm getting to it, I just wanted to gripe or "be creative" for a bit. Sorry about that. The story of the widow teaches me that Jesus watches me, and that I have the potential to really bring him a lot of pleasure when I give much out of the little I have.

For me right now it's being stretched to ask people to partner with me in ministry and to do so without letting all my stinky thinking and pride getting in the way. And for this I am grateful. And really grateful for all the terrific folks I've met along the way - all those that I haven't had to pull a gun on.

What is it that stretches you? Does your job have you working with people (my condolences). Or perhaps you are on a fixed income or are currently in a financially unstable situation. Whatever your situation, I think this story is an encouragement, for it reminds us that Jesus is watching over us little ones and appreciates our sacrifices be they big or small.

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