I have a confession to make. Years ago, when I first explored the possibility of volunteering at a pregnancy center, I was hesitant. Okay, I was downright resistant.
In my desire to participate in a justice/mercy ministry outside the four walls of my local church, I’d been looking into various ministries.
A friend invited me to check out our local pregnancy center, where she was the nurse manager. I got acquainted with the staff and took home some materials, but inside, I balked.
I thought of pro-life work as a tired cause. I wanted to put my hand to something new and shiny, like fighting the global slave trade.
To be brutally honest, I wanted to get involved in a cause that was non-controversial, so everyone could applaud my efforts and I wouldn’t have to deal with conflict.
My “why” was all messed up.
Ever have one of those short arguments with the Lord where He exposes your motives? This was that moment.
Which would you rather do—have a cool, cutting edge ministry, or obey Me?
Long story short, I spent the next ten years working at our local pregnancy center—and I could not have been more surprised as to how cool and cutting edge this ministry is.
I thought it was about saving the lives of unborn babies and helping troubled pregnant teens. It is certainly that—but oh, so much more.
Those committed to this ministry believe in treating all people with honor and dignity—unborn children, women, and men. Our work helps break down discriminatory walls between races.
We build bridges of understanding between women and men, offering respect to fathers and support to mothers. We work to prevent the heartache that abortion would cause each of them.
We hold out the holistic hope of the gospel, as opposed to the world’s “quick fix” lie of abortion. And when that regrettable choice has already been made, we help heal a broken world, one conversation at a time.
We don’t lie to young people about the consequences of sexual immorality, nor do we sit in judgment of them. Instead, we help rescue a confused and sexually broken generation.
We reach out to troubled women and men trapped in generational poverty. We listen to their stories. We come alongside them. We love them.
We obey the Law above the law, but we use the language of mercy. We model to our children and grandchildren what it looks like to love others deeply without compromising the truth.
We work side by side with Christians from other denominations. We reflect the unity and diversity of the Body of Christ.
We exercise courage by quietly walking out our convictions on an issue which invites all manner of hostile opposition.
No wonder working at a pregnancy center has made me a better Christian!
This is significant work. It has far-reaching impact. It does much good on many levels. But here’s the thing:
If we lose sight of our “why,” we risk allowing this deeply significant work to degenerate into just another nice social service – or worse, we may lose heart for the mission altogether.
I had to get my “why” straight when I got started in this ministry, and I also had to recalibrate it over the years.
To get to bottom-line answers for an issue, my husband tells me you need to ask “Why?” five times. (He learned this principle in lean manufacturing.)
In this case, the principle might work out something like this:
“Why do you do pregnancy center work?” Because we want to help moms and dads facing unplanned pregnancies choose life for their unborn babies.
“Why do you want them to choose life for their unborn babies?” Because God forbids abortion.
“Why does God forbid abortion?” Because it takes the life of an innocent human being.
“Why does God command us not to take innocent human life?” Because humans have special value in His eyes.
“Why do humans have special value in God’s eyes?" Because they alone, of all His creatures, bear His image.
Ah…now we’re getting somewhere!
God created man in His own image. Human children are His children (Ezekiel 16:20-21). He loves each of us with a fierce, fatherly love.
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He loves us before we’re born; He’ll still love us when we’re fragile and bent with age. He has a destiny for every human being ever conceived (Psalm 139: 13-16).
Jesus’ own life on earth started with His supernatural conception, followed by nine months of gestation. He didn’t begin his earthly life in a stable, but in a human womb.
God describes Himself as “the Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious…” (Ex. 34:5-7). The Hebrew word for “merciful” is related to the word for “womb.”
Do you begin to see how holy your mission is?
It’s about so much more than cute babies or empathy for a troubled pregnant teen.
It’s more than improving the lives of moms and dads in your community, or teaching principles of healthy relationships.
It’s not even just about fighting the evil of abortion—it’s more about the “why” behind the fight.
This is about our great God and His love for His image-bearers—a love so great He paid the ultimate price to redeem us back to Himself.
He sent His only Son, our beautiful Savior Jesus, to live as one of us, die on our behalf, and rise in victory over the grave.
Now we have the astounding privilege of co-laboring with God in rescuing His image-bearers and sharing the love of Christ with them.
We get to bring joy to the heart of our Father.
Above all else, this is your “why.” This is your sustaining motive.
May your reflection on Good Friday, and your celebration on Resurrection Sunday, be centered on the beautiful privilege that is yours.