Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Starving for Food & Jesus

A question has been pressing heavy on my heart: Should missional work be a compartment in our lives--or should it be our lives? Is it something we do once a year to feel like we're doing our job and that's enough and nobody can say anything to us? No they sure can't, because we did our part. Or is it something that should continually - without gaps - extend from our hearts and our hands because we serve a God who calls us to lose our lives to find the real life. The real life of meaning. The real life which is found in loving the least of these.

And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.' Matthew 25:40 

We throw away leftovers when there's children within a heart and arm's reach who could potentially thrive off them. I'm pointing at myself here, I am guilty. Our trash is their lifeline. But we don't care. Even if we do care, we don't act like it. Because we are comfortable. We live in nice houses and drive nice cars and we wear designer clothes. Because we concern ourselves with who wins sports games on Friday nights and who doesn't get a rose on Monday nights. We've not had to experiencing going without, but some have never experienced going with. Americans, we are spoiled. To whom much is given, much will be required.
Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. Luke 12:48 

Are we living up to expectations? Shouldn't it be time for us to do the spoiling? Has it been that time already, we just haven't acted on it? Time to wrap an orphan up in our arms and show them love because they don't know what that is. To give a dirty child a bath because they've never had one. To give a hungry child a meal because we might be their only source of food.

And the revolutionizing thing?

This will potentially sound futile coming from me as I just returned a week ago from an overseas mission trip in South Africa [and I'm a firm believer that God didn't create this whole planet for us to remain in the same part our entire lives], but we don't have even have to get on a plane to live out this missional lifestyle. We probably don't even have to drive too far for that matter. It's all around us - even in the Shoals area [if you live where I do]. My temporary mission field might be across the world, but my permanent and constant mission field is all around me. When we are missional, we go to the people instead of trying to attract them to us, to our fancy programs, and well-coordinated events. By reaching up to God, we reach out to others. We go to the inner-city areas, the government housing projects, and the unreached communities in our area. There are children in our own area that go without food and other life necessities, but most importantly, they are going without Jesus. It's our job to help because the Bible commands each of us to do so. It can no longer be looked at as our good deed of the week or a means to give ourselves a pat on the back for helping humanity. It's our call. To go into the less fortunate parts of our communities to serve, to love, to be the hands and feet of Jesus. A Jesus who redeems and restores. We must chase, follow, and serve Jesus instead of luxury, entertainment, and comfort.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6 

When we learn that we do not have to leave our own zip code to be the hands and feet of Jesus, the whole game changes. We're not at a dead end. We can no longer say, "Well, I don't have a call to be a foreign missionary." We can't say, "That's great for them to do, but that's not for me." Hear me, American Church-goers: If you are a follower of Christ, it's your job to defend those less fortunate than you. International sponsorships and monthly donations are great, do not get me wrong, but there is love, money, and supplies to be given at home as well. 
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:3-4 

From Genesis to Revelation, we are thoroughly given this biblical command. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I have yet to read a verse in the Bible where favor is given to wealthy over the poor. Continually - both from Bible reading and from personal experience - I find that when we are rich in money and wealth, we are poor overall - such as in spirit and in love. 

The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. Proverbs 29:7

As our generation is facing global-scale problems, we cannot ignore the local-scale hungry. People who we see and encounter on a daily basis. People who are hungry for food and hungry for Jesus. A Jesus who came so they may have life and have a full one, but they wouldn't know that because nobody has given the time and efforts to share with them, to teach them, to feed them, to disciple them.
For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, 'You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.' Deuteronomy 15:11, emphasis mine

Did you catch those last 3 words of verse 11 from Deuteronomy 15? In. Your. Land. Wherever we live, we must be missional in our efforts. We should freely give and take care of those that need us. In the Shoals area where I live, for example, many people [church members or not] are not saved. We must aid those poor in money and food, but most importantly, we must aid those with a deficient knowledge of Jesus. They need to know Him as their personal Savior and Lord. Jesus is there and ready, but we must radiate Him into their lives. They're starving - for food and for Jesus.

So what do we do? There may not be easy answers to how we go about conforming to this missional lifestyle. Certainly, I don't have all the answers. I know the reason we need the answers, but I haven't found them yet. I'm sure there are programs already established for this type of effort, and I'm eager to learn about them and hopefully help, but I'm also sure there are new efforts we need to put forth. Aside from the fancy programs, we need to just go. I may not know where I'm going with this, but I know where we should all start. First and foremost, we must starve for Jesus. We can't share the Good News with others if we aren't full of it ourselves. From there, we pray and we listen and we act. God will open doors. I'm ready to be more involved in the area in which I live, so I will be expectant of opportunities. I will prepare myself for opportunities and be more aware of the need that's lurking everywhere around me. If God says go, then I will ask where. If I have to step out of my comfort zone, then I will ask for comfort - because I know who Comfort is. And if I have to jump on the wings of faith, then I will take flight - right into the heart of the Shoals area.

For the sake of the Gospel and the sake of those needing food and needing Jesus, will you join me? If so, let me hear from you. Together, we can do this. We can make a small difference in our little corner of the world. A small difference with an eternal Kingdom impact.

In Christ,

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. Isaiah 61:1

1 comment

  1. God WILL open doors! I love how Jesus' life and message is so important specifically today, when the world is lost in materialism and I think near the point where people are realizing buying things doesn't make them feel better. Following in His ways will though, it's win win really :)


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