151 Band

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mission: Missions

Which is more attractive to you?
1.  Going to South America for a month.
2.  Spending a month working in your community.

For most of us, the inclination is to jump at the opportunity to see South America, experience new culture, new cuisine, perhaps even some beaches and sunshine.  It simply appeals to hedonist side, our desire to enjoy ourselves.

Missions work for a lot of faith communities promote travel to exotic locations and the work is always worthwhile.  Meeting need, regardless of the geographical location is absolutely necessary as part of the faith experience.  Yet, it does make one wonder why more efforts aren't pushed in our local communities.  Certainly there are people within our reach, close by who need a helping hand or even a visit just to check on them.  But that isn't as "sexy," as appealing to the wayfarer spirit within us.

In some ways, it's rather like the legendary "Red River Rivalry" between the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas.  Rather than having a home/home rivalry which would generate revenues for each of the respective communities, the rivalry is held in Dallas - a halfway point between the two colleges.  This affords fans an opportunity to travel from their home cities, act crazy, then return to their homes with memories.  Dallas benefits, the schools benefit, but then what?  Lather, rinse, repeat next year.

Don't take this the wrong way - I do believe that mission trips to far off lands has value and particularly so when humanitarian aid is provided.  However, I believe that there is a mission field ripe for the picking within our own communities.  We are to help the "least among us," and those are individuals who are right in our own neighborhoods.  It could be the elderly shut-ins, it could be the single mom or dad down the street, it could be the new family in town, it could be someone with whom we work...getting the picture?

We can do a better job of helping those around us.  We live in the greatest country in the world, with the most giving and caring people in the world and much of that reason is because of the influence of faith in our daily lives.  We don't have to be all "preachy," just caring.  We can do it, and we should do it.  Faith communities should spend more time meeting need, and less time involved in politics.