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My family is planning to move to Thailand later this year to work with a Christian organization that helps prostitutes start a new life and learn about Jesus. In the recent weeks, a few people have responded to this news by telling me how awesome or amazing we are for doing such a thing. There are two things I feel compelled to say in response.

Firstly, doing overseas missions does not make anyone awesome. Having done full-time college ministry for five years, I can add my first-hand testimony to the chorus of people who will tell you that doing "full-time ministry" does not automatically make you a faithful follower of Jesus. Of course, this is not news; God said a long time ago, "People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."1

I cannot tell you the number of days that Christie, a lawyer by trade who has lately taken on the much more demanding job of being a stay-at-home mom, has put in far more faithful work days and done far better ministry than I have at my "ministry" job. I cannot tell you how many people I know and admire who work "regular" jobs and yet make more impact for the Kingdom of God than I do.

I love and value full-time ministry – obviously, or I would not be doing it – but in response to the lopsided amount of "you're awesome" comments I receive from Christians for doing full-time ministry work, I feel the need to shout out to all of you who work as engineers, hair stylists, teachers, stay-at-home parents, and all the rest: you're awesome! (Or more accurately: none of us are awesome, but God is and He can do awesome things through any of us, anywhere, any time. Which leads me to my second point...)

I am not awesome; God is. Anyone who knows me at all knows all to well how true the first part of this statement is. I love 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. "Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise... influential... [or] of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. ... Therefore, as it is written, 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.'" There's me in italics, by the way.

I long to sing, with Sara Groves: "The only thing that isn't meaningless to me is Jesus Christ and the way He set me free. This is all that I have, and it's all that I am."

And I declare, with Paul of Tarsus: "By the grace of God I am what I am."2

I know myself better than anyone. And it is utterly astounding, scandalous, absurd – yet somehow true – that God chose to suffer and die as Jesus Christ to make me, His enemy, into His own child, and to prepare good works for me to do with Him. That is why (Lord, help me): "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!"3 He is all that I have and all that I am.

I hope I will accomplish some truly awesome things in this life. More so, I hope that I will simply be faithful when God calls. But at the end of the day, may it be known that all of it was "not I, but the grace of God that was with me."2

1 1 Samuel 16:7
2 1 Corinthians 15:10
3 Galatians 6:14

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