Doug Schell has always been a meek and mild guy. Laid back. Never in a hurry. Never riled up. Even keel. The most angry I ever remember seeing him was on a road trip years ago when he got pulled over and he said in a slightly louder than his normally reserved yet hanging on to his lovable signature monotone voice, “Dang it.” That’s one of the things I love about him. We are opposites in everything other than our quirky sense of humor, our love for spicy food, and our even greater love for laughing while watching other people eat spicy food.
Doug is probably the best friend I’ve ever had. Our friendship developed when I was a teenager and Doug started to give me rides to youth events at our church. He is a few years older than I even though he claims to only be 21-something something something. Despite the age gap though, our friendship blossomed as a result of me acting ridiculous and him laughing at my ridiculousness. Some of my fondest memories were cruising around Toledo in his Oldsmobile Toronado. It was white with a red valour interior, fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror, and a swan hood ornament with wings that actually lit up. We would cruise around and I would get a hold of the megaphone that he kept in his back seat and yell things at people on the side of the road. One time while rolling through our church parking lot I yelled, “Sister Stakely wears Depends!” I think I got in trouble for that one. Then there was the time I went to yell at someone on the side of the road and a cop rolled past just as I began to speak. Needless to say, I never really messed with the megaphone after that.
Doug is everyone’s favorite uncle. He has a way of lighting up a room like no one else I’ve ever really met. My kids adore him. They look forward to his dry jokes and his intentionally bad magic tricks. They even had a move that they used to do on the trampoline called, “The Doug”. Saying that Doug is loved in my home is the understatement of a lifetime.
I sat on my chair and a half sized recliner yesterday evening as he sat across the room on our couch. We reminisced a little. We laughed a little. We ate a little barbecue. Mostly, we just enjoyed a nice visit because visits over the years have become more few and far between than I would like. As we sat there, he received a Skype call that I could tell he really wanted to answer. It was his friend, Amanda. He answered and told her hi and then he turned the phone to my wife, then me, and then Emma so we could all say hi to her. He told her that he would call her back and hung up. Then he told us the back story of his friendship with Amanda.
He met her a few years ago at a wrestling show. Oh yeah, Doug is also a professional wrestler. (I can’t get into all of his hi-jinks when he takes on his persona of Mr. Main Event because you don’t have time to read about all of that.) He was in a 4th of July parade prior to his show when he saw this little girl in a wheelchair with her arms raised towards him. He wished he could get off the float and go to her but it just wasn’t possible. He was happy later on when during the show he noticed that same little girl in her chair next to her parents on the front row. So, he made it a point to talk to them after the show. Over time, Doug has developed a friendship with Amanda and her family. This friendship has developed into something so close that he feels like they are HIS family. If you happen to know the Schell’s, and you know how close they are as a family, then you know how deeply he feels when he calls these people his family. He told us how he goes to Cedar Point with them every year because her parents don’t really care for roller coasters, so Doug is Amanda’s coaster buddy. Then he made a statement that brings tears to my eyes even as I write this right now. He said, “She is my mission from God.
My mission from God.
Doug doesn’t attend church on a regular basis. Before we judge him for that we should consider his life and his mission. Doug is living out the words of Jesus in Matthew 25 when He said, “Whatever you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done it unto me.” I would also go as far as to say that Doug is more of a Christian that many of us who ritualistically attend services week in and week out. He is the very definition of missionary. No, he’s not in a remote village in Africa. He doesn’t show up at Amanda’s house with a ten pound Bible and smite them on their heads with it. He doesn’t demand that they repent and speak in tongues before he leaves their home. (Something tells me he would wear out his welcome really quickly if he did.) He simply allows the love of Jesus to shine through him every time he answers a Skype, gives her a hug, or screams next to her on The Mine Ride.
I sit here in conviction today. I think of myself as someone who is doing the best I can because I attend every church gathering I can possible attend. I pray. I fast. I read my Bible. I read other books that could help my ministry, but as I sit here writing this, I can’t help but ask myself, “What is my mission from God?”
The mission goes far beyond all those things I’ve mentioned. It goes beyond sharing a slice of my pizza or a bottle of Gatorade with a homeless guy. It is living every single day and allowing the love of Jesus shine through me. I fall short every day when I make fun of someone who was made in the image of God. I fall short when I snap at one of my kids that God gave me to demonstrate exactly how He loves me. I fall short when I don’t make my wife feel like she’s the most important treasure in my life.
I have to find a way to break this cycle of falling short. I need to find my mission from God. You need to find your mission from God. That’s my prayer today.
God, order my steps.
Help me to see your mission for me.