The Hedge Trimmer & the Missionary


People always say they get butterflies in their stomach when they’re nervous.
I don’t see what everyone is complaining about.
Imagine a chainsaw attached to the bell and hammer game at the carnival, only it’s in my stomach.
That’s how I feel when I get nervous.

I’ve only had this feeling a few times in life that I can remember.
The first time I played drums.
The first date I shared with my husband.
The first time I spoke in front of hundreds of people.
And, weirdly enough, the first time I met Jon and Ali.

I wasn’t nervous for the usual reasons.
I was nervous because I wanted to be friends.
I was nervous because we were having dinner with a couple we had never met.
I was nervous because our lives seemed to be so meshed together by circumstances that I was worried the awkwardness would be almost unbearable.

We parked on the street in front of their house and I felt  the chainsaw adorned bell speeding up and down in my stomach.

The door opened.
We had pizza.
The rest is history.

In the first year of our friendship we prayed together, ate together, laughed together, cried together (one of us a little more than the others), and even lived in the same house. Not together of course.

A year after meeting, they moved out of the very house where we first met and we moved in. Later that week John came to get the last of their things from the garage. Rummaging through their belongings he offered me everything from a baby stroller to a tennis racket; two things I currently had no use for. He then picked up some kind of tool that I immediately likened to a funny looking shark I remembered seeing in a National Geographic magazine.

He stumbled out of the garage carrying the shark under his arm and said,
“Here. You can have this.”

He held it up for me to see. I asked what it was.

He replied,
“It’s an electric hedge trimmer.
You use it to cut the bushes at the front of the house
. We don’t need it anymore.”

The reason they no longer needed it wasn’t because they were just going to let their hedges grow wild or because they wanted their friends, now living in their old house with their old hedges, to keep up with the Jones’.

The reason they no longer needed it was because they were now missionaries.

It’s been weeks now, but my mind keeps going back to the hedge trimmer and the missionary.

At some point in life, Jon and Ali thought that having neat and trimmed bushes was important enough to go and purchase an electric trimmer. But time moved forward and God’s calling grew stronger and now they have no use for it.

It is a small comparison.  But sometimes it’s how God works in us.

Right now for my friends – it’s just a hedge trimmer.
But in six months it will be the extra clothes and spare shoes in their closets
It will be that piece of furniture they love to relax on.
It will be the English language they’ve know all their lives.
It will be the place they’ve called home.
And in a few short years, when my brave friends step foot on the soil that God has called them to reclaim for the Kingdom, there will be nothing more valuable, more important, more urgent and more worth the sacrifice than God’s calling.

The things that once held so much worth and value, will be mere dust in comparison
to taking
and telling
and shouting
and sharing
and living
and loving out the Gospel on the roof of the world.

They said yes to God, they are following Him to a place that most people can’t even find on a map, and sooner rather than later the things that were once so important will be shadows in the light of all that God has planned.

I wonder…
How many things do I value or purchase or cling to that are dust when compared to the things that God has called me to do?

When we are called by a higher purpose the things that once seemed
necessary
worthwhile
important
and valuable
now seem like
nothing.

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.
I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.” (Philippians 3:7)

The truth is, most things are more important than hedge trimmers.
But then again
Some things
Very few things
Are more important than EVERYTHING.


           Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
           Look full in His wonderful face
           And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
           In the light of His glory and Grace.

          His Word shall not fail you, He promised;
          Believe Him and all will be well;
          Then go to a world that is dying,
          His perfect salvation to tell



Due to the sensitivity of their work, I cannot post the exact names or location of our friends. But if you were inspired by the story of their family and would like to support their missions work as they spread the truth of Jesus, please contact me here and I can direct you to their fundraising page. 

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