In This Issue: Eight lessons learned on a cross-country move
- Editor’s Note
- Musings on the Move: Eight Thoughts on Life, Ministry, and Mobilization from our Recent Cross-country Move
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Practical Mobilization columnist Shane Bennett, his wife Ann, and their kids are in the final stages of a move from Indiana (their home of five years) to Ann’s childhood hometown in the mountains of southern Colorado. They say you’re welcome to visit, but I’m in line ahead of you!
Meanwhile, Shane brings us some move-related reflections and lessons for mission mobilizers like you and me. Read on.
Musings on the Move: Eight Thoughts on Life, Ministry, and Mobilization from our Recent Cross-country Move
Lumbering across the middle American states in a huge U-Haul truck, pulling the biggest trailer they allow and straining to go 65 miles an hour, a man has a chance to think. About life, love, lunch, and his looming Missions Catalyst deadline. Below, for your enjoyment and edification, are some of my move-related musings (along with their applications for mobilizers).
1. Plan ahead
My sweet wife and I have complementary gifts. I’m not talking about this, but more specifically: She’s a good planner and I’m terrible at it! Alas, she went ahead of me to Colorado. This left me to both plan and execute the packing and move. The result was several extra tape-and-box runs, frantic last-minute requests for help, and God’s kind intervention to secure the truck and trailer.
Application: Some of what God asks us to do will only happen with excellence if we plan carefully and thoroughly. Don’t try to cover up your lack of planning by calling it spontaneity or spirituality.
2. Learn something new
Packers need boxes. Liquor stores have boxes that are strong and, depending on how thirsty your town is, plentiful. But did you know that businesses dealing in blood products also have good boxes? I’m quite happy about this fact because nothing dealing with blood should be shipped in a risky way. I discovered these boxes in a dumpster behind a local “we’ll buy your bodily fluids and give you a cookie” place. The boxes behind a nearby hair salon were also sweet. The best box discovery, though, was this: U-Haul stores have a place where people leave boxes for others! You might not feel good about pillaging the community box bin without buying something, but trust me: the closer you get to your move, the less you’ll care.
Application: What is your “learning edge” relative to the world these days? Need a new skill? Require updated information? Keep learning.
3. Good friends are great
Honestly, I don’t know why many of the people who helped this past weekend even like me, but I’m hugely thankful they care enough to get sore and sweaty on my behalf. (In case you’re wondering, this doesn’t apply only to people at the packing end, who may possibly have been acting on a desire for me to live far away from them!) There’s something about serving, caring, asking, sharing, and thanking ahead of time that can really pay off. I think of it in terms of banking relational capital. If your account is healthily in the positive, you’ll be glad when moving day approaches.
Application: Who are you building into now? For whom are you spending yourself these days? Not just for your own sake, but for theirs?
4. Use your strengths
Loading a big moving truck takes three types of people:
a. The Packer: This person sees the big picture and tenaciously ensures that each box or chair takes up only the minimal space required. A good packer doubles the amount of stuff you can take along on your move.
b. The Muscle: Those with this gift can get the fully loaded freezer into the truck. They bring mattresses down stairs. They may smell, but they’re kind and good.
c. Me: I ask Packer and Muscle if I can get them a Coke or some pizza! Someone needs to do that, too.
Application: Discover what contribution you can best make and make it with gusto! Paul says it better in Romans 12.
5. Balance is essential
In spite of the combined effort of two packing ninjas, or perhaps due to the aging U-Haul, once packed, our truck exhibited a significant list to starboard. This lean, while amusing to fellow interstate travelers, was nerve-wracking for me behind the wheel. Especially when we when reached the curvy, windy roads that comprised the last leg to our trip.
Application: In the same way, your effort to balance work, family, health, and spirituality will pay off when the road gets curvy. And it’s going to get curvy.
6. Keep pressing ahead
Toward the end of the packing phase, it seemed that every box I taped spawned two more boxfuls of stuff to pack! It wasn’t like enduring a prisoner of war camp, but it called for perseverance on my part. Then once we were on the road, I had to resist the urge to stop for the night at 2:30 in the afternoon. The urge came again at 5 pm, and then again at 7:28 pm. You get the idea. Each slow, lumbering mile was one mile closer to our destination, so we pressed on.
Application: Even more than my move, the work to which we’ve put our hands in not often easy or quick. Were it so, it would likely already be done. But it is worth it. Stay strong and courageous. God will extend his kingdom through the work of your hands.
7. Keep your eyes open
To quote Dave Ramsey, my effort to get to Colorado was “gazelle intense.” So intense that I almost missed an amazing gift from God. We spent the night in Kansas City in a sketchy hotel room for which we paid way too much. Turns out KC was also hosting hosting a gazillion NASCAR fans! My brother runs video at such races, and I see him all too seldom. But I texted him just to say, “Cool, we’re in the same town.” He replied with, “I’m on my way.” Until he pulled up beside our truck I thought he was joking! We pulled into a spacious parking lot and enjoyed a fun and unexpected chat.
Application: In the midst of “planning your work and working your plan,” keep your eyes open to the fresh work of the Holy Spirit, gifts of opportunity and provision God may be pleased to drop into your lap.
8. Good goals get you through
Even knowing the gist of Proverbs 26:14, I love sleep and rarely surrender it. But some nights, as packing went late, I resisted the siren song of my pillow, choosing instead to listen to the fainter, distant, but infinitely sweeter call of my family already setting up our new life in Colorado. The desire to be re-united kept me awake and packing.
Application: What calls you forward into the hard work of loving the world’s people and inviting friends into that love with you? Here’s a big part of it for me: I want to see happening now the stuff that caused the Pharisees long ago to squawk, “The whole world’s gone after him” (John 12:19). I want to see what Paul was seeing when he wrote in Col. 1:19-20, “God was pleased … through Jesus to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” And I long for God to answer the prayer Jesus taught us to pray: that God’s name would be honored, that his will be done here like it is in Heaven, and that his kingdom would come quickly and completely. This calls me forward. God let it be.
» Read more of Shane Bennett’s Practical Mobilization columns.
Shane Bennett writes and speaks for a great organization called Frontiers. Lately he’s wondering about how Muslim immigrants in Europe might fully experience God’s blessing.
He’s also working with some buds to leverage a $49 a month smart phone plan to raise a ton of money for cross-cultural workers. Email him for info on the plan or the vision.