When I started serving overseas, there was no internet, 24/7 news or cell phones. No, this was not a hundred years ago, but a mere thirty-four. I had the “privilege” to call my parents once a month, quickly asking them to call me back, so I could avoid a huge long-distance bill. (That’s when you’re charged for calling outside of your area code).
I wrote weekly letters to my family, by hand, and put a stamp on them. They would arrive in Tennessee two weeks later. Sometimes I received their letters within two-weeks of their mailing…sometimes a month later.
Do I have to spell it out that things have not always been the way they are today?
Of course, I didn’t stay in this time-warped world, as I returned to America after two years in West Africa, I was amazed at this thing called the fax machine! I worked in an office that summer and even used computers. By the time I returned to overseas service with my handsome husband, we actually took a computer with us (in the crate we packed, that arrived a year later). Internet came on the scene by the time we’d moved to our second country of service; and then cell phones, clunky and expensive as they were, really changed things.
I got the news, but it was mostly through my trusty shortwave radio or through local government-run stations on the TV. I joined Facebook about six months before leaving the field for good.
I miss the “good ol’ days.” Why? Because I could focus on the task we were called to — making disciples of all nations. There may have been conflicts in my home country or even denominational problems, but we were little affected, because of the lag in communication.
So, what do you do, new generation of Disciple-Makers? What do you do when your home country is in turmoil, and you’re on the other side of the ocean?
Don’t let it distract you from what God’s called you to do.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.*
This is not to say that world events are not important or should be ignored, but your task is to “do the work the Father has given you to do.” Pray for the needs of the world, but keep your eyes on Kingdom purposes.
Satan would like nothing better than to distract you from serving God in obedience to the Great Commission. That goes for us all, not just those serving cross-culturally.
Keep hidden with Christ in God. Press on toward the goal to which he’s called you.
Go retro and disconnect if necessary. It’s not as bad as you think.
Grace and Peace
*Colossians 3:1-3 (NIV)