There are times in cross-cultural work–in those nuanced, complicated relationships–that the differences dividing us seem simply too overwhelming. How can we possibly connect when we can’t even agree on that?
St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) was born into a wealthy, worldly Italian family under the original name of Giovanni Francesco di Pietro di Berardone. (Try saying that five times fast.) But upon his conversion, his life altered dramatically. He actually took the swanky clothes from his back and handed them to his father, longing to “imitate Christ” in a lifestyle of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
In the midst of his “great agony of doubt”, Francis sent a friend to ask others in the faith to pray for him. They separately replied the following:
The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.
People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.