Mission 50/50 is a lifelong faith journey and life ministry to love our neighbors AS ourselves.
Several years ago, while contemplating the idea of leaving my successful corporate career to pursuit a life of service in the mission field / non-profit business sector, I found myself running into the same circular argument over and over again: Do I want to help others because it makes me feel good, or do I help others because they simply need help (and it’s what God called us all to do – Love your neighbor)? Was I wanting to do the right thing, for the wrong reason?
If I wanted to serve others because it made me feel good, then my motivation was of selfish ambition and personal gain, and though my actions may be different, my purpose remains self-focused. Wanting to do the right thing for the “right” reasons was incredibly important to me… So the motivation behind my desire to serve others remained it question. Unfortunately, I couldn’t separate the benefits I received from the help I was providing others and thus couldn’t positively state that my motivation was truly selfless. If anything, it was a 50 / 50 split (selfless vs. selfish) and this made me feel guilty.
Then, one morning I was awoke suddenly… Starring at the ceiling, the answer I was looking for entered my mind as though God was speaking directly to me: “Of course it feels good to help other people! It’s supposed to feel good! I designed you that way! The Greatest Commandement is to Love your neighbor as yourself! It’s not ‘despite’ yourself or ‘instead of’ yourself, it’s ‘AS’ yourself! Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF! Love yourself, love yourself, love yourself and then go and love everyone else just the same.”
And just like that, the guilt washed away and my decision to leave corporate was made.
In the years since making that decision, I quit my job and became a full-time volunteer / international missionary and embarked on an adventure of sacrificing my time, my money, my possessions, my pride, my titles, my positions, and anything else that can be used to benefit others. Now, after literally having traveled around the world, both for leisure and for humanitarian missions, my wife and I have been blessed with open eyes and softened hearts for our community. Unfortunately, though we were able to dedicate our lives fully to service while living in the ghettos and villages of Costa Rica and Guatemala, or the boarding schools and orphanages of India and Malaysia, it seemed so much harder to do the same thing here in the U.S. I’m not sure if it is because the materialism is so much more “in your face” here, or if the needs aren’t as obvious, or we’re simply too distracted by our comforts to serve whole heartedly. Perhaps it’s all of the above. Whatever the case, upon returning to the U.S., we’ve struggled greatly to maintain our focus on service.
And so the pendulum swung: From completely selfish, to an attempt at being selfless, and back again.
As we struggled to maintain focus on our bigger purpose in the midst of everyday life, we consistently filled our heads with as much spiritual knowledge as we could find: Studies, devotionals, books, music, lectures, etc. It came to a point when I finally realized that we were making this far more complicated that it had to be. And so, I put down all the “reference materials” and decided to focus solely on the source – the Bible. But not simply the Bible, but the New Testament, and not just the New Testament, but the Gospels. And not just the Gospels, but the words in red… The quoted words of Jesus Christ himself.
And there it was… again. As clearly and concisely as possible… Jesus Christ plainly stating:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
– Matthew 22:37-39
The keyword in this verse is the word “As”, meaning the same and in balance. Rather than serve either our own self interest or the interests of others, we needed to do both in proportion. Half for me, and half for my neighbor.
… Mission 50/50.
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