Monday, October 13, 2014
On Mission with Jesus
A good place to fill up, but you don’t want to sit in your car here all day – it’s not your destination
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the
time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
TODAY’S post brings to a focus last week’s teaching on sowing before reaping, and being people who can ‘cross the room’ to make genuine friendships which can also become bridges to share the new life that Jesus offers. This comes from the talk I gave on Sunday under the headings “Be wise, be watchful and be worthy”.
Being wise is about joining God in what He’s doing, rather than setting about a mission initiative of our own and wondering why God isn’t joining US. Often God will open a door of conversation to us, but it is no failure to discover it isn’t His times.
The missiologist James Engel wrote What’s Gone Wrong With The Harvest in 1975 in which he set out a scale which helps us focus on the process of moving people from complete unbelief and distrust of God (1) to being receptive and ready to give their lives to Jesus (8, 9 and 10). Being wise is knowing that our task is to move them a little up the scale, ready for the next encounter that God sends, and starting by showing them simply that “God is good and we are OK”.
Being watchful is the realisation that too much ‘fellowship focus’ will cause us to miss our mission. Fellowship is important – to gives us a basis to be people who ‘go’ in line with the ‘go’ passages in the gospels e.g. Matthew 10:5 (the 12 sent out), Luke 10:3 (the 72 told to go out), Mark 16:15 and 20 (commanded to go into all the world) and Matthew 28:19 similarly with the emphasis on making disciples. This is commanded. Fellowship is assumed.
The point of taking your car to the filling station is to fill it up – to go out! Bill Hybels says that trends show that the average Christ follower is growing increasingly isolated from the exact group he or she is called to reach. So we choose to spend time where not-yet-Christians are to be found, not in the local Christian cafe.
A particular challenge is how to be inclusive of people and their lifestyle choices without condoning what God cannot condone. Bill Hybels says: “Jesus didn’t expect people who had lived their lives far from God, to be holy when He encountered them. It didn’t matter to Him where they had been or what they had done, but that they were willing for Him to make them holy… He started with me right where I was.”
Being worthy of what Jesus would say and do is choosing not to try to make them like us, and not putting anything on them. Jesus was not judgmental. The Truth footnote to Col. 4:5-6 reads: “People will not listen to those who judge them, but gracious words impart blessing and life.”
Ask Holy Spirit-prompted questions. And know how to answer graciously e.g. “That’s a question I have often asked. There’s a bit in the Bible that says….” Have your own story of 100 words or less as a ready answer for anyone who asks you.
Being wise, being watchful, being worthy of Jesus is being aware of our mission in every context of life – and being on the same mission as the one Jesus is on.