​The “Unimportant” Mission

The most important commission I'd ever been given was the one. . .

Lori Futcher

Dear God, what would You have me do? I prayed.

Having left my career behind as I tried to get a newly diagnosed illness under control, I wanted to be sure I was serving God in my downtime.

Give people rides.

God, I argued, I have talents. Isn’t there a writing project I can do?

Give people rides.

That was what my husband and I were doing. Every week I took my sister shopping. Every day I picked up several kids from school, bringing at least one of them home with me until his parents got off work. And sometimes I even took kids to school in the morning.

The most important commission I’d ever been given was the one I’d argued with God about.

It was probably because of our family’s full-sized van that we were called on for ride-giving, but I wasn’t comfortable driving the van; so when my husband wasn’t available, I was giving rides in our beat-up, retired Forest Service jeep.

Then when our church secretary sent a mass email looking for someone to take a community member to evangelistic meetings, I was hesitant to respond. Certainly someone who lives closer or who has a nicer vehicle would be better for this job, I thought. But still I replied, “If no one else is available, we can do it.”

In accepting the task, we soon befriended Tammie, who was struggling to make ends meet on her disability income.

We took her to every meeting and were encouraged when she commented that she believed Adventists had the truth. After the meetings ended, our friendship continued for years. We often provided her with transportation to various places: food banks, rummage sales, grocery stores. But only once did she ask for a ride to church, and several times, with various excuses, she declined our offer to join us for church.

After some time we lost contact. Feeling like a failure, I wondered if we’d overstepped.

Years passed, and my health improved. Finally I received what I thought was a more important call, as I was invited to be the editor of Guide magazine.

With a frenzy our family packed up and got our house ready to sell. There wasn’t time to attend that year’s evangelistic meetings, but we made a Friday night appearance.

A friend tapped me on the shoulder. “Lori, there’s someone here who wants to say hi.”

I turned to see Tammie reaching out for an embrace.

“I’m so glad to see you!” I kept repeating, and she confirmed the joy of the moment was mutual.

But nothing could compare to the joy the next week would bring when the pastor called the baptismal candidates forward. There stood Tammie, ready to commit to membership. And as I choked back tears, I realized the most important commission I’d ever been given was the one I’d argued with God about.

Give people rides.

The task had been simple and the fruits hadn’t been immediate, but I’d done what God had requested—and that had been enough.

Lori Futcher is editor of Guide magazine.