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On Mission Together / Work

Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I see something really beautiful. Something that brings hope to my heart and a beat to my steps. Something that makes me think that more can be accomplished and change can happen. I see people, united together, fueled by a common purpose, engulfed in love, using their unique gifts and abilities to operate as one and as a result, I see flourishing.

The kind of flourishing that you can’t count in status reports. Hearts are mended, stories are changed, needs are met. Children are given chances that they didn’t otherwise have, women and men are valued for they are human beings created in the image of God. Love is being exchanged without expectation or sexual assumptions. People are living free. Free of their shame. Free of their guilt. Free of their past. Free of peoples opinions, free of judgements, free of the voice that tells them they are not enough.

How do we get there? How do we get to the place that I dream of? Truthfully, some days I wonder if it is even possible. These are the days that I close my eyes and see people with their heads down, keeping their eyes on themselves and their own. Not taking the risk that making eye contact is. Not seeing the people around them, not sharing their skills or gifts but hoarding them. In bank accounts and on shelves and unused piled high in book learning but no action taking.

My heart aches for the first reality to be true. For each and every one of us to live our lives with open hands, sharing what we have been given, the unique talents that each one of us possess freely with each other. That we will see that we are all on the same mission together. To bring a world the message of redemption and hope and eternal life. That our passion is also the same, we are fueled by a deep love for our Creator God, Savior Jesus and Teacher Holy Spirit. That our only true differences are in the abilities we have each been given. The work, the tasks that we are uniquely equipped to accomplish. And we can’t accomplish the mission on our own. Each task we have been given is united, like one piece of a large puzzle. Your work you have been given is directly tied with mine. We aren’t building our own kingdoms or our own Islands, we are building one Kingdom, a heavenly one, and in order to do this we all must join together.

Your work won’t look like mine and mine won’t look like yours, but each one is important and more than that they are essential to each other. In order for me to accomplish my work, my tasks I am going to need your resources, your abilities, your cheering me on, your unique perspective and vice versa. This is what it means to be a team. This is what it means to be the body of Christ and this is what it means to be On Mission Together.

We need to stop allowing the enemy to divide us by pitting us against each other. This is a call for each Christ Follower to Rise Up. Propelled by our passionate love for God, we put the Calling of making disciples before us and uniquely we do the work we are equipped each of us to do. As we share what we have in talents, resources and encouragement with each other. Then I believe that what I see when I close my eyes will be more and more our reality when our eyes are open, a world where our mission is realized – people are meeting Jesus – because we chose to do it together.

Poured Out.

A couple of weeks ago I was coming home from a meeting and I missed my turn. Frustrated and doing the whole trying to figure out how to get back on the highway going the right way thing I found myself at a stoplight. It was a cold night in Minnesota as many in January are, below zero – with windchill, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a man. This man was standing on the corner, there was a lane between us but no other cars and he was asking for help.

I don’t remember what his sign said, but you can imagine the words with me because like me you have seen men and women with these signs too.

“Homeless, need help”

“Anything helps, Veteran, no work”

“Please help, God bless”

I never have cash and even though I have told myself a thousand times to put extra water bottles and granola bars in my car, I didn’t have any. Then I remembered, I thought I had seen a crumpled up lone dollar bill in my wallet. I reached for it with fumbling fingers, pulling it out and rolling my window down I prepared myself as he walked over.

” I am sorry” I said, ” It is all I have, I wish it was more”.

“Thank you” he said, and this is the part that has stuck with me, that shocks me “It doesn’t cost anyone anything to acknowledge me”

I was in shock. I squeezed his hand as he took my one dollar bill. “You are a human being, you have value.” My voice became stronger with these words. I said something about getting a coffee and some respite from the cold and then the light was turning. As I was driving away his words rang in my ears. It doesn’t cost anyone anything to acknowledge me.

In Isaiah 58:10-11we read;

“if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”

There are so many reasons to not pour ourselves out for the hungry. So many reasons not to spend ourselves on behalf on the afflicted. So many reasons that moment in the car, that night, to not roll down my window and give a crumpled offering to a man I don’t know.

That is the catch, I don’t know him and I don’t know his story. I don’t know why or how he ended up on that corner in the cold. I don’t know what circumstances in life brought him there. I don’t know if he has family or why he doesn’t have finances. But I do know who created him. I know my Heavenly Father and I know my mission as his daughter. It isn’t to speculate if that man is going to use my offering for good things or bad things. It isn’t to wonder if my one dollar is even worth giving. The mandate is to pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted. My responsibility is simply to be obedient. It is to be Jesus to those who need him. It is to acknowledge a human in a hard place, to give him value, dignity and worth even if only with a word, smile or nod.

There have been many times when I stop at a stoplight, see someone asking for help and I don’t have anything to give or don’t want to deal with their uncomfortable reality. So I avert my eyes and keep driving. But from now on I am going to make an effort to look these human beings in the eyes, because acknowledging them doesn’t cost me anything.

In fact, in God’s backwards economy, the very thing we believe will cost us big is the thing that gives us exactly what we need. Our light will rise, we will be guided by the LORD, our desires SATISFIED, like a well watered garden, we will be like a Spring whose waters do. not. fail. 

This is my prayer for us today:

That we will not shy away from pouring ourselves out.

That we will bravely look those in the eye who we may not understand.

That we will give value to those whose stories may seem very different from our own.

And when we do these things we will see our own lives springing forth, our dry spaces becoming like flourishing gardens and that spring whose waters won’t fail, I pray it pours over and out to those who are watching us as we live our lives for what matters.

On Mission Together / Calling

In our first On Mission Together post we looked at the idea that we all can be unified in passion. That we don’t have to compare passions, be jealous of passions, use passion as an excuse to do or not to do a, b or c but that with God as our driving force, ourContinue Reading