With the introduction of our new Faithwalking 301 series, living missionally is on the forefront of our minds. We have reworked the format and clarified the purpose. A portion of the purpose statement for our new 301 series reads, “We believe that being on mission with God and others is the will of God and brings meaning to people’s lives. We believe that all of our work in personal transformation clears the space for us effectively to get on mission with God… We believe that missional living, being in missional community, is the way of Jesus and is God’s intended design.”
What is Missional Living?
We see what God is “interested in” in Isaiah 58: “What [God is] interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and God will say, ‘Here I am.’” (The Message)
Isn’t it fascinating that this list of what God’s interested in doesn’t include how well-respected we are, what our social-media following is, what size clothes we wear, or so many other things that we spend our energies on? Isaiah 58:9-12 continues to fill in the blanks on what can happen when we get in action on these things:
“If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins, if you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, your lives will begin to glow in the darkness … I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places – firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden … you’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.”
Those “if’s” at the beginning of the passage above are so petty, so small, and so very much in our way. Missional living is getting out of our own way and allowing our lives to be about what – and whom – God’s heart is set upon.
Jesus echoes this idea in Matthew 25:34-36, when he tells of those granted entry into the kingdom: “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.”
These are verbs – feeding, sheltering, clothing, and visiting. Not just raising awareness. Certainly not making excuses. The kingdom Jesus spoke of opened its gates because these people did something.
The bottom line here is that we are called to be on mission with God to love the ones around us especially the ones that are often overlooked or are in need.
photo credit: boredpanda.com