“They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”” – Luke 24:32
I have been in the Philippines for just over two months now. It has been a great journey so far. I am glad to be back working with the community I worked with in 2012 and 2013, Companion With the Poor, and now also International Ministries! My work here includes evangelism, holistic church planting, and theological education, particularly among the poorest of the poor. However, rather than define our work by what we do, we are learning to describe our ministry by who we are. Our current description of Companion With the Poor is “a community journeying with Jesus among the poor.”
Life here in Manila, as I’m sure it is for many of you reading this, is one of work, rest, prayer, and play. One thing that I have learned after ten years of urban ministry (in Chicago, Kansas City, LA, and Manila) is the importance of having a balanced rhythm. While things change a lot from week to week, I have been encouraged to do better at pacing myself in my life and ministry. Though I have often heard the saying that life is more like a marathon than a sprint, one of our pastors told us recently to think of the impact our lives will have over the next 1,000 years. He asked us to think not just of what we are capable of in our lifetime, but of what things we can participate in and invest in that will last to the generations after us.
This perspective really does shift the way we live, work, and pray. For instance, as we design and participate in daily prayers (or what some call liturgy), we must design prayers that aren’t dependent on us, our personality, or even the personality of someone else in our church, family, or organization. The liturgy (prayers), rather, should be composed of things that will last, like the Scriptures (Psalms, OT, NT), prayers from the Bible (i.e. Lord’s Prayer), Communion (Lord’s Supper), songs (from different times in church history), etc.
Our work too should also not simply be dependent on our own skills or ability, but should be something that we can teach others. In this way, whenever the Lord takes us, this work can continue on well past our time. Of course, we should not overlook our own uniqueness as individuals created in God’s image, but we should work hard spending our energy on things that will last! I am thankful for two organizations (Companion With the Poor and International Ministries) that think like this, and are helping me think like this as well.