Three Reasons You Should Put off Doing Mission Work
I started doing mission work in college and have been able to continue throughout medical school and now in residency. I am going to share the top three reasons to put off doing mission work and then explain why you should ignore them. But first, I am going to share a bit of my story to help you understand my later points.
I decided I wanted to become a doctor after joining a mission group while attending Oakwood University. Even though I knew my academic performance would be crucial if I wanted to get into medical school, I felt God calling me to serve more. I ended up leaving school and becoming a full-time missionary for two years. This was when people began sharing their well-intended reasons for why this was a bad decision:
“You will always have time after
“This may hurt your grades.”
“God wouldn’t expect you to…”
When I returned to school I continued to prioritize ministry and miraculously my grades only improved.
The summer I was supposed to take my MCAT exam, a group of friends decided to plan a summer-long mission to reach young people in the city. I was asked to lead the mission but I was conflicted because I knew how much this exam meant for my future. The reasons for not going were getting longer by the day. I prayed about it and decided to go anyway. That experience changed my life. We fed the homeless, visited juvenile detention centers, brought healthcare to those in need, and helped a group of teens fall in love with service. We would go on to call our organization Bright and that mission turned out to be the beginning of a great work God was calling us to do. At the end of the mission, I only had a few weeks left to prepare for the MCAT. God did not forget about me and He pulled out all of the stops in helping me study. I ended up doing better than I had even hoped. A few months later, I was accepted into my dream school with a full scholarship.
While in medical school, even though there were more reasons to slow down than ever, God inspired us to continue investing in the ministry and take it to the next level. We felt called to open up an outpost to serve the cities of Cincinnati, Lexington, and Louisville. The plan is to have a center where we can teach lifestyle medicine, organize mission trips, have marriage retreats, produce healthy food, and host camps for inner-city kids. In a story for another day, God miraculously opened up the door for us to purchase 188 acres of beautiful land in Kentucky. We had been praying about it for years but could have never imagined what God had in store for us. Right now it is just trees, fields, creeks, and one white barn, but we have faith that in time God will provide the resources to turn it into a bustling center for outreach.
Over the years. I have heard and personally thought of so many reasons why I should put off doing mission work until later. Here are the top 3 (and why I never listened):
1. “You can always start later when things are better”
We tend to create idealized versions of the future in our minds where our current struggles are gone and we are magically freed from current limitations. Unfortunately, these versions of the future don’t include the new challenges that await you. Studying for tests turns into studying for boards. A new job turns into new kids. The reasons don’t go away, they just change over time. Tomorrow is not promised and it certainly isn’t promised to be any easier than today.
2. “Your career will suffer”
I have so many testimonies that I could share about how putting God first when the stakes are the highest has always paid off. God will not forget you when you need Him. When you make time for God, He multiplies your time and results in other areas. I don’t know how that math works, but I know it works.
3. “Doing too many things right now would only be a distraction”
My experience has been that doing ministry while in medical school has only helped me to be more focused and motivated. It gave me a clear reason to study when I was tired and felt like giving up. It also helped me when it came to making difficult decisions like what specialty to choose and where to go for residency. It is often easier to hear God’s voice when you are doing ministry.
Now, I am not saying that doing a Bible study with someone will replace your need to study anatomy. What I am saying is that when we “seek first the Kingdom of God,” in often surprising ways, “all these things” do tend to be added to us.
Even though I struggle daily with putting off what God has called me to do, each day is a new opportunity to decide. God has a unique plan for each of our lives. I am excited to see what God will do through Bright.
You too should be excited about what God has planned for your life, not just in the future, but today.
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