Traveling Wise in a Fast World

Several weeks ago I posted a link to a video that has garnered some good feedback in many circles. You can see the blog here with a link to the video in it.

One person commented on that video post wondering what it would look like to seek to live this type of pace while traveling internationally at jet speed. This is a great question.

Lessons on Itinerant Shepherding
Personal, on-site interaction is a core philosophy of my shepherding. I want to walk the IMG_7018streets of those I tend to – meet their community, sit in their living room (if they want that) – enter into the very fabric of their lives. We all long to be known. Long-term, particularized care leads to others being known, loved and that creates space for life change.

There are some hidden temptations that come with such a model. One of the greatest is to be need-driven.

Due to the fact that a particular visit can be short and the needs are great, there is great temptation to pack the schedule full to see as many people as possible.

But consider first: What message are we sending? Do we unintentionally communicate that needs dictate one’s choices? Are we unknowingly affirming a relentless lifestyle? Did Jesus attend to every need that came his way? Should I attempt to? Besides, is this pace sustainable?

I do hold to the adage that what we do speaks louder than what we say. We can model for others what a God-driven, sacrificial life and ministry can look like.

Here are some simple lesson I have learned along the way:

  • If I am tired and harried, that is likely how others will experience me. I don’t want others to get the weary leftovers of my heart. Therefore, it behooves me to have margin prior and during travel. This is not selfish. Its actually thoughtful toward God, self and others.
  • Once I land in a location, I try to get a day or two rest due to jet lag. This allows me to show up to appointments more fresh and able to receive others.
  • With great exception, I keep Sabbath. That day of being delighted in the Lord informs all my other days and shapes the way I engage others.
  • I try to maintain a “2/3 principle” in my daily scheduling. I split the day into thirds: morning, afternoon and evening. As a practice, I try to make myself available two of those thirds. For example, if I have meetings in the afternoon and evening, I try at all possible to keep the morning free. The unscheduled third is actually “scheduled.” That other third of the day is for time in the Word, to pray and reflect and to rest, enjoy the area, get exercise and keep to some semblance of normal rhythms.

What are some of your lessons to slow down to “Godspeed?”  What is your experience of long-term, particularized care of others on their turf?

This entry was posted in Shepherding Well. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Traveling Wise in a Fast World

  1. pauljhudson says:

    Reblogged this on Heal the brokenhearted and commented:
    Here are some lessons that most of us would benefit from. The only problem is that we may not be able to divide our day into ‘thirds,’ and only work two of three. Medical ministry is pretty demanding. Or should we be thinking differently about healthcare ministry in a mission setting? How can we best communicate Jesus to our patients and staff?


    • Scott S says:

      Paul You ask some most valid questions. I am grateful for your honest push back. You stated it well.

      First I want to acknowledge that when I put forward a suggestion, I realize it can be considered as rather idealistic. I am purposefully seeking to stir the conversation. Are there assumptions we make that maybe need to be reconsidered? Above all, I’d like to encourage us to wrestle with the concept of a “sustainable, sacrificial service.” Those two words “sustainable” and “sacrificial” are paradoxical. They need not be mutually exclusive.

      I have engaged medical workers in different locations in the world and have heard similar reflections as yours. When people’s lives hang in the balance, does one just take the afternoon off?

      One possible response is that we are ALWAYS available. Yet, how sustainable is that? Who cares for the sick when the medical provider takes some needed down time or leaves the field due to some level of burnout? Jesus walked away from people with physical needs, can we? These are all difficult questions. I would love to hear some more interaction on this topic from those in this profession.

      Thanks Again, Paul. Bless you brother.



      • pauljhudson says:

        Yes, Scott, we are not created to work 24/7. There must be margins. I suspect the work must be driven by vision and calling, not just our medical work defined by our mechanistic worldview of scientific materialsm.


  2. Pingback: Casual Friday Missionary Care Resources | Paracletos

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s