I went on my first mission trip when I started as a Director of Christian Education Intern in Katy, Texas in the summer of 1999. We left for Mexico just a month after arriving at the church. Having never done a mission trip before, I wasn’t entirely certain what to expect.
I went in expecting to be able to help others, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Our team spent time building a new church building for a congregation there. It was hard (and frustrating!) work at times, but in the end we were able to accomplish quite a bit and help meet a need in the church there.
What I did not expect, however, is how much the people I was supposed to be helping would minister to me. I felt like I had come to give of myself to others, but left feeling like I had received more than I gave. I’ve heard this same story from countless missionaries—most feel like they received more than they gave.
What brings fulfillment? People all around you are struggling with this question. Maybe you are struggling with it as well. In God’s crazy world, fulfillment comes not in being served, but in serving others.
You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
You see, in God’s crazy system of math, the path to fulfillment is through giving—finances, abilities, and talents—to others. Jesus deserved and could have demanded to be served by all others. And yet He shows us a different way. He chose to give of Himself to others, and calls us to do the same. Fulfillment is not found in what you gain, but what you give. So let’s join Jesus in getting dirty and serving others alongside Him.