Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
Words and Music by Daniel L Schutte © 1981
I remember singing this song when I prepared to come to Hungary more than ten years ago. Then I was a single woman in my late twenties heading to Budapest to teach English in Hungarian high schools. I was excited and driven, ready to serve, ready to minister. The years that followed were indeed golden ones as I felt very much on the cutting edge of ministry with my students, my Bible study, the refugees and the orphans.
Now ten years later, I am living in a Hungarian village and in alot of ways I am more a missionary wife than a missionary. More a mom than a minister. I have learned that it is a difficult catharsis for women who held the role of missionary before they became wife and mother. And it has been difficult for me.
I had no trouble giving up alot of the American luxuries to come to Hungary -- a car, central airconditioning, comfortable salaries, TexMex food -- all paled in comparison to the rich simple life of ministry in Hungary.
But giving up the thrill of being in cutting edge ministry, that is hard. I can recite all the trite sayings about family being first and it is. That is the choice I have made -- to make my family my primary ministry and use the limited energy I now have for them. But I must admit I like being the one in there on the cutting edge. I miss it. Unfortunately, I forget, ministry is not about what it does for me, or even what I could be doing for others. It is about obedience.
Ministry is all about sacrifice. And I have come to understand that, for this season of my life, giving up that cutting edge role is my sacrifice. Strange, isn't it? That obedience to God would lead one serve Him less.
But maybe it is not really serving Him less. Because ministry is not a matter of doing more or less, but rather it is about doing what he has called us to do right now. It is about obedience. For this season that cutting edge role has to die for me. But as Christians we know death is not the end. Even a long, lost ministry can be resurrected in its proper time.