I want you to imagine with me a little here.  I’ve been thinking a lot about story and writing a better life story and all that entails.  So, I want you to imagine a better story for your life today and I’m going to help you.

Imagine for a moment that I paid your travel and lodging to go on an overseas trip to another country.  You are given the job to pick a country based on its need.  Maybe you would choose to go dig a well in an African village and share the Living Water while you are there.  Maybe you would travel to the earthquake ravaged island of Japan bringing with you warm blankets and food for the many displaced citizens there.  Maybe you would choose to share the Gospel in secular Europe.  I don’t care, it’s your dream and I’m footing the bill for your travel and lodging while you are there.

Take some time and imagine what you would do.  How you would do it?  How would you fund the work that you will do once you get there (remember, I’m only paying travel and lodging).  Would you get sponsors or pay from your own pocket, maybe even sacrificially?  How hard would you work or would it be more of a vacation for you?  What story would you help write in the lives of those you meet and come in contact with?  How would you share the Gospel with them?  While you’re there, would you be driven by a sense of purpose or would your trip feel insignificent?  Imagine it!

Today, you have a unique opportunity to write a better story in your life and in the life of your family.  You do not even need me to fund your travel and lodging, because you already have them. 

What I really want you to imagine today is how can you write that same story in your own town.  Why is it that we will sacrifice greatly and work passionately to serve those in another country for one or two weeks, but we refuse to serve our own community?  I know it doesn’t seem as glamorous, but are we really doing it for the glamour?

This whole idea came from some thoughts running through my own head.  I was feeling as if I’m not writing a grand enough story for my growing son and my wife.  I wanted to think about what I could do, how I could give, or where we could go that would help us write a better story.  Then, I felt that strong tug that said, “I’ve put you where I want you to be a part of the story that I am writing.  I’m not calling you to serve them right now, I’m calling you to serve your community.  Let me write a better story there.”

Now I am not discounting the fantastic ministry that takes place when people do service overseas, but God isn’t calling everyone there.  He’s calling most of us to serve our community first.  That’s why he put us there.  Let’s all go on a mission trip to our community this week.  Serve those in need who live down the street.  Clean up the trash from the side of the road.  Help someone unload their groceries.  Be the servant-minded, purpose-driven person that you would be in Africa, just be it in your own neighborhood.