What’s the difference between Jesus and us?
First, we’re not God!
Second, Jesus integrated ministry and mission into everyday life, while nearly everyone else we know doesn’t. We compartmentalize ministry into certain times and activities, separate from the rest of our lives. If we’re not careful, “mission” is relegated to a time slot that is scheduled. But if a co-worker asks to hang out, we make up an excuse and take a rain check. This mindset rejects the fact that we are missionaries and demotes “mission” to something we merely do then stop doing in order to do something else.
What’s the solution to compartmentalized, overly busy mission in the midst of our compartmentalized, overly busy lives? From rich to poor, from doctor to fisherman, jesus integrated people, life, ministry, and mission. He redeemed the everyday, normal moments of His life and used them for God’s mission.
What things do you do everyday of the week? What events do you attend every month of the year? There are normal, ordinary, sometimes even boring moments in our lives that can be redeemed for God’s mission.
- We eat about 21 meals/week.
- Many commute to work/school
- You might play in your yard or take a stroll around the block
- You watch TV!
- You go the gym, get your air cut
- You have hobbies: movies, music, hiking, baking, gaming
- You go shopping
Each of these moments are chances to weave mission into everyday activities. Each day is filled with orginary moments or activities.
For most people Christmas may be a time of joy and expectation. But not for everyone. I know too many people who get depressed at this time of year.
Carol Nelson said,
Christmas is a time when you get homesick — even when you’re home.
I’ve known that feeling some years, particularly those years immediately after the death of a loved one. What about you? Or what about those around you? Friends and family and co-workers?
If you’re having a Blue Christmas please talk to someone. Call a professional, cry to a friend; just don’t hold it all in and let it reach a point where you find there’s few options.
I’m a big believer in that most of the decisions we make comes out of the identity we’ve accepted about ourselves. For me, I live a much healthier, wiser, more productive and loving life when I’m living out of my identity in Christ.
During my sabbatical last summer I sat down and for five minutes just wrote down how I needed to see myself. This is what I came up for this season of my life:
- I’m a child of the King, given full authority and I love to spend time with the Father.
- I am a healthy person, capable of exercising and eating healthy.
- I am a missionary servant who disciples others.
- I am a good husband and father who seeks to serve and love my family.
- I am in desperate need of God’s help to live out this identity!
Lord, help me do this for your glory so that I can sustain and grow in my ministry so that others will know You and grow ever deeper in love with You.
Everyday missionaries are called to such a unique, strange life that there is no way to explain it other than the massive change God has made in us. But here’s the catch: in order for people to see the gospel change in us we have to live out our mission in way that the people can see it. So when does everyday mission happen? When the people God sends us to see the choices we make.
1 Peter 2:11-12, “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
There are two extremes to Peter’s thoughts. Verse 11 reminds us that we’re foreigners and exiles, and as such calls us to abstain from sin. Some Christians read “abstain from sinful desires” as “abstain from being around anyone or anything ‘non-Christian’.” In verse 12 Peter disallows that removal mindset. Where does God call us to live out that holy life? Among the Gentiles. Rather than keeping faith huddled in holy ghettos, Peter calls Christians to live out in public, in the midst of those who don’t follow Jesus.
The other extreme we can slip into goes beyond living our faith among the Gentiles, to instead living LIKE the Gentiles. This extreme finds joy, hope, and satisfaction in the same things they do. This is just as dangerous a misinterpretation as the first: it overemphasizes grace and rejects obedience of his radical call. The two-sided principle in verses 11-12 encourages us to balance or hold in tension those extreme views.
Everyday mission happens when our goals, time, resources, decisions, and day-to-day lives functionally proclaim what we mentally affirm.
“So, how’s your spiritual life going?”
What’s the best way to honestly answer that question? By the state of my Daily Quiet Times with God or other growth “activities?” Did I pray and read the Bible enough lately?
That’s how the Pharisees measured spiritual growth.People can be very disciplined but remain proud and spiteful.
So how do you assess the well-being of your soul?
Ask yourself these questions: Am I growing in the fruit of the Spirit? Am I more loving, full of joy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle, faithful, and self-controlling this year compared to last? This month compared to last?
Then ask the opinion of your spouse, best friend, or co-worker.
I’ve seen many people die. I don’t mean in any gruesome way but just in terms of the natural course of old age or cancer. Most of them were committed Christians and I can say of them what John Wesley often and joyfully declared, “Our people die well!”
Indeed, when I’ve seen how well they can die, how unafraid and triumphant they are when they face the last enemy, I am fortified afresh to testifying to the sufficiency of Christ’s works for me.