What Is It Like?

As part of my supervised ministry class, this week I’ve been working on a “Context Report.”  One of the objectives of this report is to discover more about the place (and the people in the place) where we are serving.  Instead of reporting on the entire city of Kosice, I chose to focus on the village where we have spent a good bit of our time over the past year.  I learned so much in my research.  The Lutheran Church in the village dates back to as early as 1580!  There are 287 children under 18 in the village.  One of our English students has just become the first Roma man (or woman) to go to University from the village.  These are really significant facts, and say some pretty powerful things about our ministry there.  We are not bringing God to this village – God has been in the lives and hearts of these people for centuries.  There are lots of kids I haven’t met yet!  And there may be ways that we can try to help this new University student succeed, through teaching and maybe even financially.  If I had not gone in with a spirit of learning, I might have missed some of these important facts.

Fast forward to this morning:  I was spending some much-needed time praying and reflecting, and decided to listen to a few songs from one of my favorite artists: Kyle Matthews.  I listened to his song, What is it Like, from his latest album Be Here Now.  I was struck by the appropriateness to the week for me.  There are so many rich thoughts in the lyrics, but here are a couple of my favorites:

album-cover-200x200I have a past, my inheritance 
I can’t escape all the ways that 
It shapes my view. 


Seeing what you see 
Would force me to face myself 
As if I were someone else 
I might have to ask for help.

(see the end of the post for complete lyrics)

My context shapes the ways that I live and love and minister, but the people that I come in contact with every day also have a past that shapes who they are.  I believe that we must seek to truly understand the other.  And it all starts by asking: “what is it like to be you?”  Maybe not literally, but how do we seek to know people? How do we show them that their life has value; that they matter to us and to God?  We ALL have something to offer the world.  It is often easier for us to ‘rush’ in to help people in our own pride and wealth without asking about what they really need.

When we do missions in our own church, in our own city, or around the world, we start with this: God loves all of us, God values all of us, and we all have something to give to God’s kingdom here on earth.  So, that means that I must learn about these people that God loves so much!  I am not here to save them – God is.  And, God has been working long before I got here and will continue working long after I leave.  Part of my job is to truly understand people.  Part of my job is to ask hard questions and be ready for real answers.  And that is part of your job, too.  There ‘hot topic’ situations being thrown around right now with no concern for what the other side might be facing.  We have a job as the body of Christ to seek understanding. As you go about your life this week, I encourage you to ask, learn, and seek to understand those around you.   Are there people in your community who have never really been asked, “What is it like to be you?”   Sit down with someone this week.  Really listen, and be willing to be changed by this experience.

Note:  We’re huge fans of Kyle Matthews – his thoughtful lyrics and simple, catchy tunes teach deep truths.  If you haven’t discovered Kyle yet, or if you’re interested in purchasing this song, check out his website at www.kylematthews.com (the song can be found on the Be Here Now album at this page)

Lyrics: What is it Like
Words and Music by Kyle Matthews
from the album Be Here Now
© 2014 See For Yourself Music

I am a child of America
The land of the free and the brave
Where we sing the blues
What is it like for you?
Here I was raised extravagance
We had so much that
I still don’t know what to choose

What is it like for you?
Living the way you do
What is it like to be you?

I have a past, my inheritance
I can’t escape all the ways that
It shapes my view
What is it like for you?
I have faith, and it teaches me
Not to condemn till I’ve been
In another’s shoes
What is it like for you?
Seeing the way you do
What is it like to be you?

If I knew, I would hold the key
To a friend for life, a world at peace
It begins with those who have
the grace to ask

I have a heart… It’s been broken
Can you be honest enough to say yours is too?
What is it like for you?
I know what I’ve been through…
There is the risk in the question, ‘cause
Seeing what you see
Would force me to face myself
As if I were someone else
I might have to ask for help
If I had to face myself

But when I do, I will hold the key
To a friend for life, and inner peace
It begins with those who have
the grace to ask…
What is it like to be you?

One thought on “What Is It Like?

Add yours

  1. Thanks, Tanya, for these words of reflection and for sharing the words to the Kyle Matthews’ song. I’m going to have to find it!

    Hope all is going well now that you’ve returned! Blessings to you and your family!


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