How poor are they that have not patience!
What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
Thou knowest we work by wit, and not by witchcraft,
And wit depends on dilatory time...
(Shakespeare's Othello, II, iii, 376-379)
Some years ago, SAM and I attended a small country church near Paducah, Kentucky, and became acquainted with the sister of a missionary in Honduras. She--the sister--spoke of and presented a slideshow of the incredible work that her brother, Dr. Jeff McKenney, and his wife had begun some years earlier in a remote area on the northern coast of Honduras. It wasn't the impressive presentation or the engaging personality of the sister that convinced us to support the Cornerstone Foundation. I must admit it was reading Dr. McKenney's fascinating account of his tribulations and triumphs that convinced me (and then us) to help fund this medical mission. Dr. Jeff has a penchant (read here) for penetrating the mysteries (to me) of missionary work.
Oh, sure, I understand the basic concept. How can you expect people to understand and accept the Gospel unless you first minister to their most urgent needs? Kindness and good intentions are all fine and good, but when a belly is either empty or split open by bandits wielding machetes, critical attention must be paid to feeding or fixing the belly before the soul.
The main thing I don't understand about mission work is how missionaries like Dr. Jeff and his wife can so easily put aside their own lives to save other lives? Well, maybe not easily, but willingly. It must have something to do with dilatory time or the lack thereof. Such a thing does not exist in such a man's vocabulary or thought process. Time is of the essence there and here. Okay, so maybe I'm beginning to comprehend. I owe, I owe. It's off to work I go...
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane ["olive press"], and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me..."
Then he returned to the disciples [after how many times of waking them??!!] and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go!"
(Matthew 26: 36-46)