I was sitting next to an experienced missionary named Steve. We were waiting for the program to start and I couldn’t help myself. I had to ask, “What is one piece of advice you would give a new missionary?” I hate to waste learning opportunities where there are people who have gone before me and have done what I am trying to do. I try to be respectful of their time and not be too pushy. He hesitated and I thought maybe he just wanted to sit and not talk before he had to go on stage. To my delight, he responded, “Does it have to be just one thing?” “Of course not!” I eagerly replied.
“Don’t get lost in the business,” he said.
How relevant to my life this was. I’m the head of the business development team with Envision Atlanta. Business is my business and how easy would it be to get lost in bottom lines, and flowcharts, and business cards? How quickly we can we lose sight of what our main focus is supposed to be? My business is Jesus and always should be. But, through Jesus, I get to start businesses so that I can employ refugees, and missionaries, and fund the other work of Envision Atlanta. I want to be like Jesus who said he only did what he saw his Father doing (John 5:19). It is so easy to get caught up in what we think we are supposed to do rather than seeking what we ought to do. Every good thing we do can become a hindrance to our work if it starts to overshadow the One who gave us good work to do.
The saddest thing about my conversation with Steve was that I forgot the second piece of advice he gave me. Every day we have a chance to learn and I only got half of what I had opportunity to receive.
Brian and his wife Anna serve in the metro Atlanta area, home to people from more than 761 different people groups. They work with refugees and urban poor with Envision Atlanta. Brian has helped Envision Atlanta start two businesses, a window cleaning company, and a mobile thrift store. One of the goals of each business is to provide job training and livable wages to its workers. Brian and Anna are required to raise their own support to pay their salary. You can give here. Search for Brian and Anna Baldwin where it says, “type name of worker or project”. Envision is part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance and your gifts are all tax deductible. Every gift is valuable for advancing the work being done. You can also sign up for Brian and Anna’s newsletter here (outside link FYI).