Monday, May 05, 2008

Going To Work

As my wife drove me to the airport she asked me if was excited about the trip.

“Not particularly,” I replied, “it feels like just going to work.”

If you have traveled very much in your life then you understand that after awhile the romance or excitement of going overseas loses its edge. The long layovers in an airport; the 14 hour flight from New York to Delhi; the sleeping in strange beds and eating local food becomes a part of the job, it’s no longer an adventure. Though I have visited forty countries I still get a bit anxious about customs, catching the right train and trying to figure out the exchange rate. Since I am in the ministry and don’t have a huge budget, my seat on the plane is 40J not 4A and a five star hotel is something I read about in the in-flight magazine while sitting in the back of the plane, knowing that the best I can hope for in accommodations is AC and a private bath in the guest house where I will teach.

Understand, I am not complaining. I love what I do, training and teaching others how to serve the Lord cross-culturally. If I didn’t I certainly wouldn’t subject myself to the long days away from family and the isolation of traveling alone for weeks at a time. The point is, it ain’t all that exciting.

Years ago a man told me that when he first heard me speak he did not believe in supporting missions or missionaries. He said that there was no way he was going to give his hard earned money for me to travel the world. He confessed that it was several years later, after reading my reports, that he understood that I was living anything but a life of leisure, fun and adventure.

There is a reason that 5% of the global mission force quits every year. Ministry is, and should be, a job. And, like all jobs, there are benefits, but there are also some negatives. Daily work is not always enjoyable, and compound the emotional stress of daily activities with dynamics of living in a culture that is not your own and it can be debilitating. I like what I do and thank God each day for the role He has given me for His kingdom work. But I don’t wake up each morning excited, going to work isn’t always that much fun.