We usually see everything through our own egocentric agenda. Our preoccupation is “How will this inconvenience me.” or “How will this make me feel?” That doesn’t get us very far. We then twist reality so we can feel good.
—-Richard Rohr from Everything Belongs
How often do you twist reality for the sake of your feelings? Such twisting usually involves your need to feel justified or fulfilled in one obligation or another. John the Baptist said: “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” The real tricky word in John’s advice is anyone. All of us have someone with whom we are willing to share all that we have. That’s where our agendas come out.
Most of us are taught from a very early age that we are to be responsible and productive. Such teachings and the behavior they produce are very good. The real problem surfaces when we begin to evaluate the worthiness of the recipient of our good will. We don’t want to be inconvenienced or made to feel bad by one of “those” people.
As a result we make excuses and justify our behavior, usually with a spiritual agenda. Something like Proverbs 12:11, “Those who work their land will have plenty to eat, but those who engage in empty pursuits have no sense.” How easy it is to turn your back on the poor ,when you can say the Bible tells us that they have no sense. That verse and so many others come from a larger context of spiritual knowledge that can feed our souls with abundant wisdom. When taken alone, however, they feed our egocentric behavior and act as excuses to neglect our ministry to the less fortunate. Be careful not to twist reality to meet your needs.
Lord help me not to be so self centered as to make up spiritual realities that really serve as idols to me. Rather teach me to be genuine and open to your message. Let each day be a challenge to me. Allow your word to be my strength. May I never flee from a task because it would inconvenience me. Amen
I am the kind of person who likes to have things figured out ahead of time. That’s my style and I can be a little stubborn about it. I wonder if that a good thing for a Missional Christian? Let look to see how God handled people like me in the Bible. let’s pick three, Moses, Jonah and Peter.
Moses-Long before God had tapped Moses for his mission to lead His people out Egypt Moses had begun his own freedom movement. After seeing one of his fellow Jews being mistreated by an Egyptian he killed the Egyptian. The result. Moses had to live in hiding and exile for 40 years. Moses did it his way. When he submitted himself to God at the burning bush he became the leader of the nation.
Jonah-As soon as he received God’s call to preach to the people of Nineveh, Jonah ran away because he knew that “those people” were not worth his effort. After spending three days in the belly of the fish Jonah led one of the most dramatic revivals in history.
Peter- He was just a simple fisherman who just didn’t seem to know when to keep his mouth shut. In his time he had a tendency to talk BIG but on the night that Jesus was condemned he didn’t talk so big. Jesus later confronted him and he expressed sorrow for his denial. After that experience with Jesus he seemed to know when to talk big and when to be silent.
The point is simple. When we encounter God -things are different. It doesn’t matter that we have everything figured out. When we allow God to speak, and we really listen, things are just different. As Missional Christians we have to be forever aware of the still small voice of God prodding and poking us every moment of the day. He has a message for you. Please listen and things can be so different.
“After all, who is Apollos? And who is Paul? Simply ministers through whom you became believers, each of them doing only what the Lord assigned him.” —1 Corinthians 3:5
Any kind of Christian worship or work is ministry. In the early church deacons waited on tables. The gift of ministry is serving people in very practical ways by supernatural power. Paul called “ministry” collecting money which he delivered to the starving believers in Jerusalem.
We all need practical help in living each day; therefore, we need ministry. Without it, we have faith without works, which is dead. Without ministry, Christian community is impossible and everyday life becomes unbearable. Ministry applies God’s love to the details of life. Jesus came to serve, not to be served, even giving up His life. We must follow in His footsteps by washing one another’s feet and bearing one another’s burdens. And thus we will fulfill the law of God.
This challenge is to find ways to do ministry. Your ministry may be prayer or to be an activist for someone less fortunate than yourself. Try to think of some little way you can serve.
Here are a few possibilities:
- Do a chore for someone who is sick.
- Invite someone to have coffee with you.
- Write a note of encouragement.
- Pray for strangers.
I hope you get the idea. Just take the time to give of yourself by serving others.