Life in the Face of Death

I am the director of ministry and social services at the Eugene Mission.  This is an amazing job where I am expected to help men and women experience the love and restoration that God has for them.  Of course there is nothing I am doing, but as I allow God to use me, He is changing people around this place all the time.  But maybe one of the people He is changing the me.  Many of the men on our Discipleship Program hold positions of service.  Some work the kitchen, some sort paper for recycling and some supervise programs for the hundreds of guest who come through our doors for temporary services(shower, food, or bed).  Many of these men and women have been here for years.

One of the guys at the mission found out this last Friday that he has terminal cancer.  Today he came by my office.  I felt helpless.  He told me they said he only had 3 to 4 months to live, but that they could possibly prolong it with radiation treatment.  I inquired if he was going to do that.  He smiled and said if he was going to hurt he didn't want to hurt more than necessary.  I felt helpless.  I asked if there was anyone we could connect him with and we had awkward conversations about hospice care and social security issues.  He looked me in the eyes through it all and didn't waver.  Though his body seemed frail his soul was sturdy.  I finally told him that I would help him with anything he wanted to do or accomplish.  He said the only thing he wanted to do was to keep serving the men at the mission.  At that statement I felt not helpless, but convicted.

We make so many excuses about why we cannot serve.  Not enough time or money.  Not equipped for the job.  Not smart enough.  Not interested.  But in reality, I think we are mostly selfish.  We are called to deny ourselves and follow Jesus.  This means we don't plan our own days, but we follow Jesus' plan for our lives.  Jesus called people to give up occupations, start new ones, love their neighbors, feed the crowds, and so on.  No matter what it was, it was never dependent on the ability of the individual, just on their obedience.  We here the truth all the time.  We are to be living sacrifices, pour out our lives, we've been bought with a price, and take up our cross.  But somehow they become slogans we wear and refuse to live.  We parade the themes on mission trips, but hide them in our homes.  I really want to be different.

Today conviction came in the form of a man who is losing his health and his body is dying, but in the face of it is serving and loving.  He does this because Jesus loves him.

I told him I was encouraged that in the face of bad circumstances he still had faith.  He smiled and said it's not bad, there's eternity.  Eternity.  I can't wait.  Makes all this more than worth it.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this story. It is truly inspiring to hear that someone is so strong in such a hard situation. Jesus is the best and only true foundation for our lives. And it sounds like you have an amazing job! It's clear just from reading this one post that you have devoted your life to Christ, and that motivates and inspires me to do the same :)


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