Dear Marketplace Friend,
It's Sunday afternoon and I'm in North Carolina, transitioning. Tomorrow, I'll spend the day with a great group of men, just finishing their second year in The Master's Program. Through the weekend, I've been acting as host/emcee for Prescription for Renewal, a conference hosted by World Medical Missions, a significant arm of Samaritan's Purse. The conference is designed to connect medical professionals with international service opportunities [check it out: www.samaritan.org/WMM_OC_Article.asp?ArticleID=35]. Doctors often find their Kingdom calling through their professional career; that's often more difficult for business entrepreneurs or marketplace professionals. I serve this event every year; it aligns with my calling...
This year's program included Senator Bill Frist, majority leader of the United States Senate, and an oft-mentioned possibility for a presidential run in 2008. His contribution to the conference wasn't political; since 1998, he has been on multiple international missions assignments with WMM. He's a serious Christian, a dedicated doctor... and a man who went to Washington with personally-imposed term limits (he's in his second, six-year term... and will not run for reelection for a third). I've spent time with Senator Frist, and have a deep respect for him.
With him this weekend were members of the Capitol Police, whose assignment includes the real estate in Washington... and members of Congress, away from Capitol Hill. What the Secret Service is to the President, the Capitol Police are to the Senate Majority Leader. These are fascinating people in their own right...
One of the senator's detail was a dark complected man in his late 30's, quietly fulfilling his mission... but available for friendly discussion. He wasn't impressed with himself... but he was deeply impressed with his position. A few days before, he had escorted the new Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court to his first day in chambers; now, he was at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove with the Majority Leader. He was quick to add the oddity: he was a naturalized American citizen... whose childhood was spent in Brazil, growing up in a family that couldn't afford shoes for the kids.
He loves his work... and he loves the idea that a man who arrived as an immigrant could be serving in the role that is now his. Did he like his career and its demands? His answer was clear: "Mostly." What's not to like? "The people who are never satisfied."
He shook his head as he described the settings in which he often accompanies the congressmen and women assigned to his care. The often-contentious climate of the dissident discussions surrounding national policy were the focus of his disillusionment. "The people who take issue with this country just don't get it."
He described his wonderment at the take-it-for-granted posture he sees so often, from folks who know what they don't like... but never mention the blessing of being here. "Do you know the most amazing thing about America?" he asked. He held up his index finger and said, "This is it. With this finger, anyone in America - rich or poor, black or white, native born or recent arrival - can dial '911'... and they'll come."
No where else in the world can anyone with a phone and a finger summon trained professionals - with thousands of dollars of specialized equipment - to come to their immediate assistance. Who would have thought of that benefit? Clearly: someone who came from a place where ones' finger lacked that power...
It caused me to consider my own tendency to take my citizenship in heaven for granted. Just imagine the 911 power we have, as members of the Royal Family, through our adoption via faith in the Lord Jesus. He gave us the private line number to God's office: "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it" (John 14:13-14).
The angels from heaven - who are assigned to protect us as we move around in the "real world" - must shake their heads - like the Capitol Policeman - and wonder why we aren't more grateful for the power of our praying hands...