Getting Some Satisfaction
Most likely I’ll have trouble sleeping tonight because I’m so excited. Early tomorrow morning I’ll join 4 dozen others sporting bright orange T-shirts emblazoned with DreamBuilders 2007 as we gather at BWI for the early flight to Biloxi.
Two weeks ago I met the Bishop of Mississippi, who participated in our annual Diocesan Convention. As he spoke movingly to us about the Episcopal congregations on the Mississippi coast, their courage and stalwart response to the needs of their neighbors, I found myself increasingly eager to get going on this mission, to meet these people, and to try to make a difference.
Of course, any difference we make will be a drop in the bucket of the overwhelming needs of that place. But drops in buckets are not irrelevant. Enough drops, and eventually, the bucket is full.
Why do St Markers and others do this? Why spend our time, vacations, and money on the needs of strangers, when we never seem to finish our own tasks? Why do so many of us do this, and why are so many other St Markers standing behind us, praying for us, supporting us?
It’s not really that we’re all that noble. It’s really because engaging in mission is a big part of what we need in order to satisfy our own hungers. We’re really trying to meet our own needs.
Even if you missed or snoozed through the college lecture about Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”, his observation is true. Once we are beyond the more basic struggle to find food, shelter, safety, a place to belong, recognition and the esteem (love) of others, we discover yet another need: the need for purpose, for self-actualization. It’s not that others have needs we can fill, as true as that is. This is about our own need: our need to serve.
Jesus understood this. His disciples once returned with food from a shopping trip and urged him to eat. He just laughed them off and said, “I have food you don’t know about it. My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.” Serving God, serving others, turns out to be the thing we crave most, once we’ve met those other needs. We’re serving others in order to satisfy ourselves. The more we give, the more we work, the more we serve, the happier we are. How selfish of us to go on this mission trip!
So I’m excited. I’m off to have some very satisfying fun. See you when we get back!
May the Peace of the Lord be with you!