Fitting God into our mission

I remain puzzled as to why we’re so bored with the very things Jesus asks us to do, like picking that foreigner up out of the ditch, giving away our goods to the poor, going to court with a young man who’s being railroaded by the system, taking an orphan into our home, going the extra mile with the oppressive and manipulative, forgiving the offender, baptizing, and witnessing. I find these things really, really hard to do. I fail all the time. If I can’t even do these things well, why would I believe that I could transform my culture, let alone change the world?

Mark Galli has an interesting article in Christianity Today.

I think it’s because issues that are away and outside of us have a romance that appeals to our inner need for a quest. We are bored and tired with our present lives, so going somewhere exciting and different stirs up all sorts of inner emotions, emotions that we confuse with the emotions the Spirit of God fills our heart with. This isn’t just the case with changing the culture. Short term missions philosophy is afflicted with this. Go, spend a $1000 doing a puppet show in Mexico while there are poor and needy down the block in your own neighborhood. The Crusade, going off to do Good Works elsewhere, is hard to argue with because certainly there are good works needing to be done everywhere. But, Jesus didn’t ask each one of us to disciple the world. He asked all of us together, as a united body, which oftentimes means that we are called to do our part in the ways and places Jesus has put us. The Great Commission is great an all, but it’s been a distortion of the faith that we’ve taken this one passage and used to to ignore the many other passages.

Jesus at the end of Matthew did say go and do. However, Matthew 28:18-20 does not in any way surpass Matthew 25:31-46. Indeed, Matthew 28:18-20 isn’t really possible, I imagine, without Matthew 25:31-46. We change the culture, we make disciples, we bring the message of Jesus to those who need Jesus, by being Matthew 25:31-46 sort of people. Unfortunately, all too often we’ve forgotten that commission because we think the last one is the only great one. Jesus did not just give us the goal. He gave us the method. We’ve replaced the method with our own, and attack the symptoms rather than the underlying issues.

But, a Crusade is just so rousing. Because a Crusade is about those people, and my being right. Jesus, however, is much more about me as a person and my being Jesus to others. He is not about our assertion of authority but about our service. Crusades are about taking the form of a warrior, trying to exploit supposed equality with God. However, like Jesus, we are to take the forms of servants, humbling and serving and sacrificing. In that is the glory God delivers and the transformation the Spirit brings about, a transformation that radiates rather than is imposed.

This entry was posted in church, emerging church, Jesus, ministry, Nascent Church, spirituality. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *