In early December, after spending some time in prayer, I began to have an uneasy feeling that 2008 was going to be a challenging year for me. I say that I felt uneasy because, like many, I am a creature of comfort and I am not used to being troubled with problems that can’t be solved easily. Your car is older than your neighbour’s car? Buy a new one! Tired of the clothes you are wearing? Go shopping! Don’t feel like cooking tonight? Go out to eat! As Canadians we live in a world of convenience and we have padded ourselves with “stuff” that makes our lives effortless – painless.
And so when I felt impressed by God that he wanted to teach me about “inconvenience,” I cringed a little, wondering what I’d have to give up. The answer to that question was, of course, everything.
Matthew 10:38-39 says, “If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.”
I know we’ve all heard this verse before, but when I really began to consider the ramifications of practically applying it to my life, it seemed pretty radical – even harsh. Forget about myself? But for how long? This is where the dichotomy began for me. How much would I have to surrender to Christ’s example of self-sacrifice and servanthood while still maintaining a self-indulgent life?
The simple truth is that in a world and society that tells us our main goal is to buy, collect, and save as much as we can, we, as the body of Christ, must live as alternatives to the world of materialism and model the Kingdom of God by living lives of justice, compassion, mercy, and discipleship.
“Freeing” ourselves to be used of God, instead of the inward focus which the world ascribes to, is the starting point at which a discussion on being “missional” becomes relevant. Without casting off worldly priorities we will never see the need that surrounds us, or feel any responsibility to meet it.
So I begin again [Our gracious God is constantly offering me forgiveness and a second chance] with this new perspective, knowing that with every “inconvenience” that I willingly accept for Jesus’ sake, I take a step closer to the heart of God.