Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Defining the Job

People keep asking us what we will be doing in Cameroon, and even though I have the job description in my hands, the truth is that I just don’t know yet.

Will I be doing more administration, or more pastoral care? I’m not real clear yet.

Yes, I’ll be preaching, but every Sunday? I don’t know.

I’ll be teaching and training lay pastors, but to do what? Not sure yet.

I’m going to be baptizing new Christians, but will I get to know them beforehand? Ummm … I’ll get back to you on that one, too.

It’s a frustrating position to be in, but we trust that everything will unfold in God’s own good time. Perhaps it’s a good thing that we don’t know yet what we will be doing! Ignorance is not just bliss -- it creates a childlike, dependent, submissive attitude in the faithful disciple. And that’s good!

Every morning, Leah and I scramble to the computer to check our messages, waiting anxiously for the next tidbit of information from overseas, or from the General Board. Every little thing we learn about Cameroon is like a precious nugget of gold. All day long, we hover near computer access, waiting to check again … and again.

I can even feel a kinship with Abram, whom God ordered to hit the road, leaving behind his country, his people and his home. (Abram at least got to take his books with him, though – see Genesis 12:5 … “He took … all the possessions they had accumulated”!)

Abram didn’t have a scrap of information about the places he was headed. He just launched out in complete faith. As Hebrews 11:8 put it, “he … went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

But Abram did have a clearly defined job description … his was to simply start a big family. Listen to the mandate from God: “Leave your country … and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you” (Gen. 12:1-2) That sounds fairly easy to me. It’s short, anyway. And it’s simple to grasp.

Granted, it wasn’t easy to carry out … There were lots of bumps in the road, hazards and detours, too. Yet Abram knew where he was headed and why.

And perhaps most important, he knew that most of the action was left up to God. In the end, Abram struggled to produce one male offspring – that was up to God. Abram couldn’t gurantee that his kin would become a great nation – that was up to God, too. Abram couldn’t really do anything that would ensure that he would be blessed – that was up to God, and God alone!

So if there is any consolation for this family, it is the fact that we really don’t need anything more than a passport, a plane ticket, and a few packing boxes. We’ll have to leave the rest to God anyway.