This morning, the St. Louis Jesuits’ tune “Come with Me into the Fields” was swirling around in my head. The Church of my youth filled its sacred space with music from this famed group of guitar-plucking, Jesuit composers from the 70’s and 80’s. Check it out. It’s a very inspirational song.
It was in my head as I was reflecting on a weekend I spent in Elk Grove, Calif., giving a mission appeal. After the masses, several people came up to me and said that they are really interested in doing overseas mission work, but it just wasn’t the right time: they hadn’t finished their degree yet, just started new jobs, not quite ready to retire, children and grandchildren were on the way, etc. All are extremely valid reasons not to go overseas at this moment.
But then, who will go to labor in the fields of the Lord? There are excuses, and then there are excuses. In my own life, there are times when I know God is genuinely calling me to do something; and times when God is calling me not to do something. And I also know my fearful self is pretty good at talking me out of God’s will.
So vocation to overseas mission life involves discernment, careful discernment. My wife and I spent a couple of years talking and praying about it before we finally left for Brazil. And there were plenty of excuses we gave before going, some legitimate, others fear-driven. But only we could do the work of deciding which were which.
There is no doubt Jesus is calling you into “the fields.” We all have a mission in life, and it may very well be right where you are, right now. It also very well may be to a field thousands of miles from where you are right now.
My advice: get in touch with your passions and your fears, for God speaks through both.
Lay Mission-Helpers Association