“Sometimes working in a Third World Country makes me feel like I am emptying the ocean with an eyedropper. And just when I have about half a cup full of water it rains:: more orphaned children from the north migrate to where I live, more abandoned and dead babies are found, more people are infected with HIV. It is enough to discourage even the most passionate and enthusiastic person…” –Katie Davis (young missionary in Uganda)
Although I don’t live in a third world country right now, I do work with people in them everyday. As part of a growing orphan care ministry (LSM), I get to see this day in and day out, and the stories are heart-wrenching. Although I’m not living among an unreached people group, I support missionaries who are, and those stories of spiritual depravity are sorrowful, and often discouraging. From my quiet desk in Indiana, it’s so easy to feel like all my passion and efforts are nothing more than an eye-dropper in an ocean – and subsequently become really discouraged by that depressing realization.
And in reality, it is. I’m just small person in a sea of 7 billion. But there are days when I am burgeoned by stories of hope that transform one life, and I am reminded… I’m a person with a place in God’s mission.
“People pursuing a God-given vision live with strategic intent. The vision virtually captures them. They no longer dream about what could happen. They become convinced that certain things should happen. They make choices as if each day held abiding value. They are not driven by obligation. They live in the dignity and liberty of knowing that they give their utmost for God’s purposes.“ -Perspectives lesson material
I had an opportunity to teach some Perspectives material to a small mission group this week. I talked about fulfilling the Great Commission and what it’s going to take to finish the task (an estimated 30% of those 7 billion people have never even heard of the name of Jesus). I was struck by the reality that when I live like this, the size of the ocean doesn’t really matter.
(The song “Little is Much” by Downhere fits well with these thoughts. Listen to it here.)
The quote by Katie Davis didn’t end with despair though. She finished by saying this: “…Love is the reason I just keep filling up my little eyedropper, keep filling it up and emptying my ocean one drop at a time. I’m not here to eliminate poverty, to eradicate disease, to put a stop to people abandoning babies. I’m just here to love.”
And so I will go on, filling up and spilling out. Because love is worth it – because I believe ultimately God’s mission to the world is worth it.