God's Mission Matters February 2010 podcast - Just be there!

Being, not doing: do we have to “accomplish” anything?

February 15, 2010

By Hunter Farrell
“abide in love, abide in God” (1 John 4.16)

I have a confession to make: when I look into the eyes of human need around the world — hunger and domestic violence, child trafficking and racial discrimination, war and corruption — sometimes it makes me feel hopeless.

The first tinge of despair in the face of overwhelming need can quickly push me to my tried and true default setting: “DO!” I shift into overdrive to assess the need, develop strategies, seek allies, and problem-solve — to busy myself so that I don’t sink deeper into the painful realization that the world and all its problems are much more than we can ever change.

Oftentimes, when I’m engaging in mission, I feel this need to shift into “DO mode”: compelled to impose my agenda, to fill in the awkward silence when I don’t know what to say next, and silence the growing voice within me that says I can’t even begin to make a difference in this frighteningly complex and different context. It’s then that I recall Jesus’ example, try to set the tasks of mission aside, and ask myself, “What would Jesus do here?”

Often, the answer is right in front of me: he’d be playing soccer with the kids, listening to the recently fired workers grieve the loss of their jobs and livelihood, sitting beside the mother whose son has gone off to war: he would embody Emmanuel, God with us, and invite me to be that presence in the world. Jesus would just be there; being, not doing or trying, to necessarily, “accomplish” something.

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