It was a person that was the crowning achievement, the glorious moment that culminated God's first creative act. And it was for people that He gave the final and Greatest Sacrifice. For this reason, in all that we endeavor to care for, live for, and love before God on this earth, it is people in their teeming masses, but always scaled down to the one living soul before us in any given moment, that is of supreme importance.
Because of this rather grand statement, no matter where you live in the world, if you are under this calling, you are under the highest calling a person can answer in their lifetime. China is one place on earth where the call is almost deafening if for no other reason than the sheer numbers of people that live there, and so many of them having so much need.
This great calling also means that often what most inspires us, what lifts us to a life beyond ourselves, is the example of people who evidence some act or attitude of divine, sacrificial love. They beckon us to a love of a different quality, a costly kind of love that seems weighted with the gold of heaven. It is the kind of love that also raises the person it is poured out on to the heights of God's vision for what they were meant to be and what he gave so much to make possible.
I heard this quote the other day, from someone who was sharing about this hard work of loving people going on in China.
True discipleship takes time and is very costly time-wise. I’ve found those growing the most were closest but there was a sense of disappointment that it took so much time. But discipleship is sacrificial, it’s going to cost your life. To disciple the nations is going to cost many lives.” ~Rob CheeleyThe thought was sobering and beautiful in the weight of its importance.
I sat and listened this week to two women, two teachers in our school, both Chinese. Their hearts are shaped by the Love of their Lord; and their hearts beat for humanity, specifically for their countrymen, for the humanity that teems through their China's vast cities and rural villages. There are many ways they could answer this call to love their many neighbors, but they are teachers and so this is the path their burden takes.
I listened to them and felt like a tiny grit of sand that is part of a large rock on which these women stand. I loved to watch them far above me, poised as unique individuals because they have been raised in a Chinese education system, trained in a western education system, and have hearts to reach the children and families who are mired in the struggles and pitfalls of their country's current path.
One of our visions as a team here of both foreign and Chinese teachers, administrators, and families, is to raise up national teachers who have a heart for the Chinese, have been given educational tools alongside their foreign teachers, and can go out to schools all over China, transforming classrooms from the inside out, reaching students and faculty and parents with this Difference in purpose and method.
As I listened to these two women, I could see the cost their discipleship has required of them, the pleasures they have given up and the trials they have endured and know they will endure. And all I need to do is hear one story of one child who was changed, or one family who came asking for more, for answers to their heart's greatest need, and I am sold. Sold that this is why we are here, laboring to make this school happen where we are alongside our Chinese brothers and sisters, training and supporting and sending them out as they follow the Call to Discipleship, their hearts bleeding for their country. They do not see their lives as their own, but their trust is implicit and the reverence they have for the importance of their task deepens my respect for them.
My daily work is simple and compared to the vision above it can also seem pretty small. I don't sit in the rural classroom with the migrant worker's child. But she will. And she will teach others to do the same. One waters, another plants, but it is God who makes it grow.
"If you can't feed a hundred people, feed just one."
- Mother Teresa