Saturday, February 22, 2014

MISSIONAL LIVING IS A 24/7 PROPOSITION: 3 Things To Remember!


1922490_706318752745895_2130229088_n When it comes to missional living there's no clock for you to punch out to say you're done for the day!  Ordinary Christians who live a life obedient to Christ's mission must be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 52 weeks out of the year.  Even when you're on vacation, you're still on mission!  That's just the way it is. So, with that in mind here are 3 things to remember that will help you as you pursue Christ's mission.

These 3 suggestions are gleaned from a study from the Gospel of John 4:1-10 as Jesus is going through Samaria and meets the woman at the well.  Take a few moments to read the story for yourself out of your own Bible.

 1.  Learn To Minister Even When You're Tired: The first lesson that we gather from this story is through Christ's own example.  When Jesus and his disciples got to the well Jesus is dead-dog tired.  He needed to stop, rest and eat.  So, Jesus sent the disciples on into town to buy some food while he was going to get some time for himself to rest and relax.  But God the Father had other plans for His Son.  While Jesus was resting, a woman from the town came out to draw some water.  Jesus could have chosen to ignore her and not say anything to the woman. After all he was exhausted and who would have blamed him if he took a few moments to himself and chose to say nothing at all.  But that's not the way Jesus worked!  For Jesus, being tired or hungry was never an excuse for not engaging a person to see if the Father was at work in their life and drawing them.

 There are going to plenty of times when we are tired and maybe even downright exhausted to the point we just don't feel like making another visit or sharing another Gospel presentation.  But the example that we have from Jesus is to just suck it up and do it.  People are depending on us to bring the Light into their part of this dark world.  Once they hear the Good News they'll have an opportunity to believe and place their faith in Christ.

 After Jesus had finished his encounter with the woman he no longer felt the weight of being tired or hungry.  Instead he declared that he had food that his disciples did not know about (spiritual food).  The food that Jesus was talking about was to do the will of His Father.  When we join God on His mission, even when we are tired or hungry, the outcome usually is a tremendous sense of satisfaction and contentment that completely outweighs and in many cases eliminates the physical needs that previously haunted us.

 2.  Learn To Minister To The People Who Are Marginalized: This second lesson can be a very difficult one to learn and even more difficult to put into practice.  What do I mean by ministering to people who have been marginalized?  Marginalized people are people who are overlooked, outcast, and in most cases discriminated against.  They are the people we don't feel comfortable around.  In this story the main character, besides Jesus, was the Samaritan woman who came to the well.  She was marginalized for three reasons.

  First, because she was a Samaritan.  The Jews considered Samaritans to be halfbreed dogs.  The prejudice was thick between these two groups.  It had to be a dire emergency for either party (Jew or Samaritan)  to talk to the other, usually only for business purposes and only for a very short period of time.  But here was Jesus striking up a conversation with her and asking her for a favor.

  Second, because she was a woman.  We can get a little glimpse into the life of women back in Bible times by looking at many parts of the Middle East today.  Men just did not talk to women, especially in public.  It just didn't happen.  So, here's Jesus once again breaking the social barriers and engaging, in conversation, with a woman.

  Third, because she was a woman of sordid background.  She had been married 5 times and the man she was with at that present time was not her husband.  She was not a woman who was very well respected in her village because she was considered an adulterer, a sinner and as such no one would want to have any association with her.  But Jesus not only talks to her but is willing to do so in public. Jesus knew that if he was to pursue the Father's mission it meant he would have to encounter and embrace many people that most would never consider to be worthy and in many cases considered outcasts.  We too, need to look past the conditions of others and see the love that Jesus has for them.  We will have to discard our distrust of others who are different so that we will be able to share the love of God to them and lovingly call them to repentance.

 3.  Learn To Be Aware Of Those Divine Appointments: This passage indicates that Jesus "HAD" to go through Samaria.  Why did Jesus have to go that way?  Most of the Jews of that time would intentionally go around that area in order to avoid the Samaritans, so why did Jesus have to go that way?  Could it have been that one of the reason for "having" to go was because his Father had an appointment set up for him to keep?  Could it be that this was the time for an entire village to come to faith in the Son of God? As we go through life on Christ's mission we should expect and look for those Divine Encounters that God has scheduled from His throne of grace.

Looking to see where God is already at work during our daily activities should be as normal to us as breathing; we should do it without even knowing it.  There are some things that only God can do and when we see those activities being displayed it should be a clear indicator that God is busy about His work and calling us to join Him in that work.  Some of our missional activities are intentional and planned activities where we go out to find where God is at work. We accomplish that by doing things like door to door prayer walking. But then there are other times when God's work finds us as we are busy with the work of this present life.

 The question that we need to continually ask ourselves is whether we are willing to deny ourselves, take up our cross and join Christ in His mission on a day to day basis and to join Him in it regardless of how, when, or where the mission opportunity presents itself. Remember you are the Light of the world!
 GO SHINE CHRIST'S LIGHT!
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