I’m sure there are a lot of things you should never say to a missionary, but in my short four months of being one, I’ve found there is one line that is tough for me. “What you’re doing is so admirable!” You’d think this is a great compliment, but it can be dangerous.
When someone tells me how proud or how impressed with my decision to go serve in a foreign country, my immediate response is to pat myself on the back and tell myself, “See, even other people think you’re awesome.” The point is this: My work is not about me. I don’t want to feel “special” for being here. Well, I do, but you know, like Paul says … things we should do, we don’t, and yeah, you know.
It doesn’t matter where you are. It doesn’t matter where I am. As believers, we are all part of the body of Christ. I’m not better than any other Christian. I’m not worse than any other Christian. We’re all trying to know God, love Him and others, failing, and then living in His new mercies daily.
Honestly, I don’t feel “special” being here. It’s been a fairly easy transition, and I don’t feel like I’ve had to sacrifice much. But when others begin to tell me how great my work is, I turn the focus to myself. I stop turning to God because I think, “My presence here is the proof of my relationship,” and then I slowly wander from the close relationship I need with Jesus. It’s so easy to think I’m doing something amazing. But I’m not.
God is doing something amazing. I just get to be part of it. What a blessing. GOD is the admirable one.