One of the most amazing ideas in Scripture is that God became a human. This is a paradigm-shattering thought. Divine, holy power chose to explain Himself through fragile skin, calloused hands, and ultimately, spilt blood. More amazing still, is that this god-man not only became human but became a human servant. He was not a general or a king or a celebrity. He was a baby, born into poverty, groomed by years of obscure construction work and buried in a borrowed tomb. The God of All Things came to serve, not to be served. This is not a coincidental byproduct or a peripheral attribute; this humble servant is the visible representation of the invisible God, the exact imprint of His true nature. This is not simply descriptive of our Savior; it is prescriptive of our calling to follow Him.
The Church is designed, in the image of our Lord, to be a family of missionary servants, which is, by definition, someone who does what is hard or unpleasant on behalf of someone else. Therefore, the Church bears the burden of dying to our ambitions and embracing the agenda of Jesus, who did nothing on His own, but only did what He saw His Father doing.
Therefore, it is the job description of the Church to do the hard things that the world is unwilling or uninterested in doing. Loving children that are not our own, loving widows that are not related to us. Taking care of the poor, feeding the hungry, and washing the feet of those who walk on top of us. We are called to believe paradoxical truths that will always place us in the minority and force us to swim against the cultural current. Our holy texts are filled with hope and encouragement – not in case we suffer, but for when we suffer. The Father not only sent the Son as a sacrificial example, but He also sent the Helper because we are expected to do hard things.
Because of this, there is no village that is too remote, no context too dangerous, no government too oppressive, no task too menial. The Church is pioneering by nature. We are a sent people. We do not give up because there is no bridge; we build bridges. We adapt, we grow, we contextualize. We are the special forces of the world. We are the first in and the last out. We live differently than the world so that we may serve the world.
We do not accept that there are “closed” countries, as if borders and legislation contain the power to restrict the Spirit. The gospel is for all peoples and we are their servants, slowly, faithfully building relationships, establishing trust, and getting our hands dirty where others won’t. We are advocates, shepherds, and protectors because God, who is the only one who can sit in a high place and condemn us, being rich in mercy, has come low to advocate, shepherd and protect us. We can do no less. We do hard stuff.