A few months ago I was invited by a Haitian friend of mine to visit with his family in their home. To be honest, I did not want to go. It had been a very busy week and I was exhausted. My friend insisted, and so I reluctantly went. As we drove across the busy city of Port Au Prince, every bump in the road and vehicle honking at me only made me more irritable. We turned down a few dirt roads and into a small over-crowded community. We arrived at their home and as I got out of my car I thought to myself, “Let’s get this over with.” My friend’s family came out of the house to meet us. His wife, kids, aunts, uncles, and cousins were all there. They were ecstatic that I had come. They each embraced me and welcomed me into their home.
I entered the house to see that a feast had been prepared for this occasion. We ate, talked, and laughed together for a while and then I suddenly realized I was having fun. In that moment my irritability turned into embarrassment. Why had I been so reluctant to come?
My visit was winding down and I was preparing to leave when my friend pulled me aside and said, “Thank you for coming. Most missionaries and visitors from the U.S. never have time to just visit. You are the first to ever come to my home.”
I have thought about that conversation a thousands times since then. I do not ever want to forget why I am here. I do not ever want to become so busy “doing ministry” that I neglect the people to whom God has sent me.
I am a task-oriented guy. I like to stay organized and focused. But making disciples is not an item on a to-do list that we can just check off. It is a lifestyle that we must maintain. We have to be careful not to look at people as evangelistic projects but as flesh and blood, people whom Jesus loves. He is working on me and teaching me a lot about what it means to make disciples. It’s a process not a program. And it involves slowing down and doing life with people.