07 Nov Missional: Longing and Living for a Greater Reality
Life is a funny thing. It passes slowly and yet quickly. The longer we live it, the more sure we become that our time is passing and fleeting. We long to live lives filled with meaning, but then we find ourselves filling our day-to-day with the meaningless.
The author of Ecclesiastes bemoans it in this way: “ In the few days of our meaningless lives, who knows how our days can best be spent? Our lives are like a shadow. Who can tell what will happen on this earth after we are gone?”
By the time he comes to his final words in chapter 12, he has come to his conclusion about this life, “Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.”
Fear God. A life filled with meaning and free of the empty comes down to a simple idea- we are to live each moment of each day as if there is a God who is ruling. Root your decisions, your character, your relationships, and your priorities in the unseen reality that there is Someone greater than yourself. Live this temporary life with your eyes on the eternal.
The Mission of God
If we are to live our lives with our hearts set on the God of the universe, then we must allow our hearts to be captured by and actions dominated with the mission of God. We must love what God is doing in the world. And we must live, act, and speak in such a way that we- His people- move this mission forward.
When we start throwing around the word mission, things can get a little uncomfortable. The idea of living out God’s mission in the world sounds complicated. It sounds like the thing that missionaries do when they move overseas.
However, being a part of the mission of God is a natural fruit of being a disciple of Jesus. In the same way that you can identify a believer by the words he speaks, the ways he spends his money, and his relationships with other believers, you will know a true believer by his interactions with- and pursuit of- an unbelieving world.
David Bosch puts it this way, “Mission is more than and different from recruitment to our brand of religion; it is the alerting of people to the universal reign of God through Christ.”
Put simply, living on mission means living by a different reality- a higher one. When we orient our lives around the truth that there is a God who is greater than us who is both ruling and working in the world, our day to day looks different.
We become aware of the brokenness and injustice around us, and we recognize that this is not God’s intent for the world. We give of ourselves to right the wrongs in this world. We advocate against human trafficking, we teach job skills classes to single moms who have never been taught how to have a job, and we spend 30 minutes a week eating lunch with a student whose home life is in constant chaos.
We open our homes, our lives, and our schedules to those who are vulnerable or in need. Our families are a place of safety for the foster child; we offer ourselves as a resource to others because we understand what Christ has already done for us.
It’s a word that should describe each of us as we learn to follow Christ more and more. And most importantly, we must come to understand that our circle of responsibility begins where we are. Most of us won’t be called to move overseas, but all of us have been called to the mission field.
As a church body, we have been given responsibility and influence in our city and our state. As individuals, we must determine our role in that responsibility. Join us on November 17 at the Pelham campus as we explore these ideas more.
Our first responsibility isn’t to travel halfway around the world with the message of the Gospel. Where we are right now, this community and this city, this is where our responsibility lies first.
At the end of time, God may very well ask us about what we did to care for the orphans in Africa or the widows in South America. But His first question will be one that is much closer to home. What about the single mom down the street from you? What about your co-workers who didn’t know Me?
So, if you’re thinking about packing your bags, perhaps you should consider simply being where you are.
Megan is spending her 20’s doing as much travel as her job at Grace Church will allow. She is incapable of letting a day go by without a physical challenge, is terrified of being stuck in an airport without a good book, and holds a particular bitterness towards hikes that don’t lead to waterfalls. Megan attends our Downtown campus.