If I wasn’t a missionary researcher, I often think I’d be a tornado chaser.
I love the idea of chasing tornadoes – the thrill, the adventure, the awesome power of winds blowing around, the tornadic wedge, the math of meterology.
I don’t like a tornado’s darker side – the losses in lives and property damage.
But I, like so many others, are awed by the awesomeness of nature, and I think it’d be cool to be close to the danger.
The fact is, however, I’d bet chasing tornadoes – like anything – is hard work. It’s not just about the thrill.
You have to need a reason to chase them – a reason that’s important to others.
Part of the problem of the “grass is greener in another line of work” challenge is this: once you get over the fence and into the other field, you find out how much is involved in mowing that grass, in caring for that grass.
Suddenly what seemed so thrilling isn’t so thrilling after all.
The challenge is finding what it is you want to do, what you’re shaped to do, what you’re called to do, what you’re designed to do – and then pushing into it. Pursuing it.
Becoming the very best at it.
I’m not so sure I could be very good at chasing tornadoes.
You can see an exciting thing to do, but once you get into it, you’re going to find out how tough it is.
Once you push through it, though–that’s when you find that you’re both good at it, and you love it.
If it’s not something that (a) people need/want, (b) you like to do, and (c) you can do well – then you’re not doing what you’re shaped to do.
This is one reason why I don’t think we should make “missionary” into a completely separate calling – as if you can’t be “missionary” who is a “teacher” or a “doctor.” There’s no reason why that thing you’re good at can’t be a way to bless others and make disciples at the same time.
(At the same time, don’t equate “missionary” with “evangelist” or “disciple-maker” – we are all called to be witnesses, evangelists and disciplemakers, but not everyone is called to be a missionary, at least in my line of thinking.) A big part of making disciples is helping people to learn how to follow Jesus in every day life, whether you’re a pilot, a pharmacist, a pastor, a podiatrist, or anything else.