I like things orderly—at least by my own definition. I’m aware that it is more about the illusion of control, but I keep telling myself that I just prefer things done in a certain way and within my time frame. My wife, Jodi, and the rest of the family humor me by keeping things tidy, but this all points to my own frailty. God is patient and graciously allows me to see that order is defined by the Lord (Psalm 37:23). He is in control, and, despite my misgivings, He orders things in such a way that He receives the glory.
I am very grateful to work in an organization like ACTION, a mission with an emphasis on children at risk. The thing about working with these children is that there isn’t anything orderly about their lives. In fact, most of the time, the ministry is chaotic and messy. Despite this reality, Scripture seems quite clear about what we are called to do as followers of Christ—even if it means getting messy ourselves! It is no coincidence that James 1:27 speaks of “true religion” as visiting orphans and widows in their distress. The word translated “visiting” is the same root word used in Luke 1:68 to describe how God has visited and redeemed His people, in Luke 7:16 as a description of the Incarnation, and in Matthew 25:36 regarding true believers who visit those in prison.
What emerges is a reflection of Jesus and the Gospel. God intervened in the midst of my very messy depravity by putting a seed of faith in my heart, sending Jesus to earth to die, and making provision through the supernatural indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We love messy because the Gospel compels us to love those who are in the most difficult places. It is not easy work, but it is a privilege.
We believe that this type of ministry is fundamental to God’s plan and, as followers of Christ, we must actively engage in Gospel-centered care for those in need. We have tried to live this conviction out in Cambodia by investing time, energy and resources in strategic ways through ministries like Mordecai’s Courage, Asian Hope and Kurmul School. May God give us the courage to be faithful to what He has placed before us and to grow our vision and capacity to reach many more people for Him.
Daren and Jodi Beck have served with ACTION in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the past ten years. Daren currently is the mission’s Southeast Asia Regional Coordinator.