Here I Am
By: Jenny White
“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “ ‘Here I am! Send me.’ ”
As Jesus laid crucified on the cross, his last words were “it is finished” (John 19:30). The work he intended to do while on Earth the first time around was complete. The blind saw, the lame walked, the 12 formed, the bread broke, the rooster crowed. However, while His plans were finished, His work had not ended—in fact—it was only beginning. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” When Jesus ascended into heaven he left us with a new mission: a mission to bring heaven down to earth.
When I was eleven years old, I went on my fist mission trip to Massachusetts. I honestly don’t remember signing up for it or how my parents managed to drag my anxiety-driven self on her first plane ride with a group of strangers. Little did I know that that group of strangers would become my best friends. It was there I learned about the extension of grace, and it was there I started this crazy journey with Jesus. Sometimes what God is calling us to do isn’t a super spiritual calling, but simply an open door. You don’t get to see what’s on the other side, and you don’t get to have all the answers. All you have to do is show up and take a step forward. And so I did.
Every time I’m on one of these service learning trips, volunteering in the community, or doing the good works Jesus spoke about, I like to know how much impact I’m making. However, oftentimes I get caught up on how painting a wall, organizing school supplies, or building a bench is really making a difference in people’s lives. If it was solely about meeting the needs of others, couldn’t we just send a donation in lieu of our time and money getting there? Surely that would be more beneficial.
However, when God saw the hurting on earth he didn’t send a check—he sent his son. God is a god of miracles. He could have changed hearts with a blink of an eye, but instead he sent his one and only son down from heaven to live among us (John 3:16). To be the Emmanuel—God with us. The thing is, God craves a relationship. When Jesus lived on earth, majority of the world didn’t even know he was born! He couldn’t reach everyone, so instead He picked twelve good friends. So whenever I’m tediously sorting food, I remember that what I’m doing may not impact the whole world, but it is showing a special few that they are not alone. There are people out there that care and that is what these trips are all about. It has a ripple effect. Every time we build, clothe, feed, or love, the kingdom comes on Earth as it is in heaven.
Famous author and speaker Bob Goff writes, “Most people need love and acceptance more than they need advice.” Jesus didn’t walk this Earth just to hang out with the good guys. No. He fully immersed himself with the sinful and the hurting. He met them where they were and loved them where they were at. Most of the time what people need most is someone to empathize with them. They don’t need advice or wise words; they need love. Someone to be fully present with the other person and listen; not listening to know how to respond next, but listening in order to understand. Lots of times I think the best thing you can do for another person is just show up. But don’t be afraid if what appears is more than you expected. God won’t give you more than you can handle.
Coming to college I’ve learned exactly that. What we need most is other people. We are so dependent on God and our friends it’s unfathomable. If I’m being honest, life would be a lot more boring without friends to share it with. That being said, God sent us out into this world to be with other people as Jesus was with us (and is still with us!)
So, to everyone going on the local mission trip this weekend, let’s not forget what it’s about. Understand that while our contribution might seem small in the moment, God is multiplying our harvest as we speak. Just being present this weekend speaks measures for those we are helping. If God is calling you to be His hands and feet, don’t be afraid to say "Here I am, Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8).