On our recent mission trip to Zimbabwe I was confronted with my own human frailty. I ended up with cankles, you know when your calves and ankles get so swollen you can’t distinguish where the one ends and the other starts. The heat bordering on 40 degrees and my general lack of fitness, made my human frailty so glaring obvious to me. I wanted to do so much more, but at times, and there where quite a few of those time, I was not physically able to.
Why am I mentioning this, well while reading through Titus I find Paul giving Titus instructions and encouragement (Titus 1 actually just read chapters 2 and 3 as well, very short book). Titus established churches in Crete and was instructed by Paul on how to choose elder for the churches among other things. If we are to fulfill the Great Commission and “Go and make disciples of the Nations”, do we not need to be physically, mentally and spiritually up to the task? As always remember I am asking myself this and just putting it out there as a question to you, no judgement.
I have been reading about Hillel the Elder, a Jewish scholar who was the Grandfather of Gamaliel. Some of his quotes resonate with me and make me question myself. Here is a real stinger that slapped me in the face, “Take care of yourself – you never know when the world will need you.” Ouch!!! If you know me, you will know I carry a good few extra kilos (being kind to myself here) and when it comes to fitness, realistically I don’t think I would make a 5km walk, never mind a run. We often refer to ourselves as soldiers and an army, but are we really ready to do what soldiers are trained for? Are we spa trained soldiers too soft to deal with the real world?
In Zimbabwe we had a group join us for a few days from Mozambique, they walked 19km, with babies, small children and their suitcases in 30 plus degree temperatures, leaving home at 6am in the morning and arriving in Kanyemba just before midday. The locals in Kanyemba walk many kilometers to school, to town, to collect water and to attend the meeting we had in the evening. Are we fighting fit and ready to do whatever it takes to spread His renown, or is it too far to go from the couch to the kitchen for a drink of cold water from the tap?
Here is another Hillel quote that packs a punch, “What you yourself hate, don’t do to your neighbor. This is the whole law; the rest is commentary. Go and study.” It is easy to cry about injustice we feel we suffer and yet treat others with distain and disregard. Jesus said Love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27 and Matt 22:37). If we love God first and love all people then everything else falls into place, it is when we love only some people, that we feel we can judge those who don’t fit into what we think and feel they should be.
I would like to end with another Hillel quote, which we can apply to the Great Commission, “If not you, who? If not now, when?”