Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Notes from Prayer: I Can't Save Anyone

In the Gospel of Matthew, the disciples ask, "'Who then can be saved?' Jesus looked at them and said, 'For men, this is impossible, but for God all things are possible,'" (Matt. 19:23-30).

About two months ago, I was praying in the lower chapel of St. Paul's, asking God to prepare my heart to serve the students that I was about to meet for the first time. I had just left the comfort of my family home to move to Boston, Massachusetts in order to begin serving as a FOCUS missionary at Harvard. Over the summer, I got a lot of positive feedback about my decision to answer God's call to serve as a missionary. I was and am very flattered by the compliments, but sometimes the content of the compliment didn't sit well. Some people would say something along the lines of, "Wow! Go save some souls!" and I would seldom know how to respond. When I read this Gospel passage that day (and keep in mind that it was the end of the summer), this is what came to mind:

We, as missionaries, do not save anyone. If we think of life as a pool, we are not the lifeguard, but rather, we are the lifeguard floatation tubes: we are instruments and we are symbols and, when we do our jobs well, we point to the True Savior, the ultimate Lifeguard.

What good is a tube that breaks? How helpful is the buoy that floats away from the one who saves? It is only when a lifeguard can employ the tube as it was made to be employed that it can have any part in saving a life because a floatation device has no inherent saving power. Any trained lifeguard is MORE THAN capable of saving a drowning swimmer without tools; how much more true is this for the all-powerful, ever living God?

We are called to bear witness to God, to point to Christ always and to be moved and animated by God, who rescues all. My prayer became more specific following this realization:

"God, please draw me closer to You and allow me to be a helpful instrument of your Love."