Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mission Possible VI: "Just Go Now!"

One of my favorite books that I read to my children when they were young, was the Dr. Seuss book; Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! The essence of the book is simply telling Marvin K. Mooney to "go", repeatedly. It never says where to go, or why to go, but just to go. Marvin can go by foot or by cow; he can go by skates, skis, or flying hat. He can even go by a crunk car (an imaginative and creative vehicle!). Just go Marvin!
But Marvin is a stubborn fella, and needs lots of prodding.

In the previous blog posts I've written, hopefully, I've made a case regarding Jesus and The Father acting in mission. The Bible clearly is a book on mission. From beginning to end, God reaches outward. He is always on the move, revealing Himself. I've already shared many passages and examples that God is a seeking and saving Father, and such was the mission of Jesus. And further, that we are His ambassadors, apostles (sent ones), and disciples left on earth to further His mission. All of us are called to be His witness, His fragrance, His light and salt. It's not a calling for some elite few, like the Marines' slogan: "the few, the proud", but for every one of us who call ourselves followers of Christ. Just like Marvin K. Mooney, we are exhorted to "go" and please "go now" by the Spirit of God. It doesn't matter the ways or means by which we go, (that is left up to us to creatively explore). Just go!

So what keeps most of us from going? Fear, laziness, procrastination, selfish absorption, busyness, past failures, bad theology, time management, all can bog us down into doing nothing. We console ourselves in our complacency thinking we're living by grace and not by works. In many circles these days, obedience is on par with legalism, and sacrifice passe'.
Please don't misunderstand me saying we need to start "working" for God, or living a lifestyle of frantic and fleshly works. I don't advocate that at all. Grace is a daily importation given to us to experience anything of God. I live by His dispensed and empowered Grace daily. But the fact remains, we are called to act on what we believe, and show our faith and love by our actions.
I challenge you to spend some time reading in the book of John, chapter 14, and see how much Jesus himself (in addressing the disciples with important "last minute" emphases) mentions the words of love, obedience, work, do, evidence, command.

The truth is, we show our love by obedience. Obedience is an action, not a thought process. An action presupposes we are doing something that communicates our love for God!

In the last blog post, I shared some ways of thinking and acting missionally in the daily contexts and aspects of our normal lives. Using the abilities, skills, talents, knowledge, gifts and proximity to people in our neighborhoods, jobs, and daily activities to enter into the lives of the people around us. To create relationships and bridges that allow us to be an influence and agents of love, grace, forgiveness and hope.

If fear seems to overwhelm your desire to go, start with small things that have little risk and see God take your small step into greater leaps. Fear only has the power you allow it to have over you. Jump in and see your fear turn into fun!

Have you failed with some attempts in the past? Great! We learn best by our mistakes. Take what you've gained from it and try again with a new and improved version. Jesus doesn't hold our mistakes against us as we are growing, as many of our human relationships do. He urges us forward, giving us grace to grow and space to learn. He is excited when we try, regardless if it isn't perfectly excecuted. We grow in humility when we fail, and our character is formed to be even more honoring of Jesus. We should love our failures for what they achieve in Kingdom terms, and not let our pride keep us stuck in immaturity.

Procrastinator? Accountability is your best friend. We are not islands. All of us are created to need one another. Find someone in your life who will encourage and hold you to your word and the true desire of your heart to reach out in mission. Procrastination can easily be overcome by involving others who will go with you, and gives momentum to an action prompted by faith.

So time is your issue? Let's face the truth, we have time. We have the time for the things which we choose to have time for. Yes, we live busy lives, getting more and more complicated each year it seems. But we are in charge of how we "book" our time slots, and I think the issue is more of priorities than time. What do you really value? That is how you will allot your time.

I know people (and I'm one of them) who can spend hours on the computer each week (Facebook anyone?), or watching movies, favorite television shows or reading books, blogs and articles. I can diddle away a whole afternoon and have nothing much to show for it, and its easy to do. However, I do make time for working out, getting dinner together, spending time blogging, being with my family, visiting with friends, building connections and relationships, living simple church, and more because its important to me. I spend time in the things I value and prioritize with my actions. We all do this, consciously or not.

Often times, combining things together helps in using our time in more of a missional and intentional way. For instance, I will ask a neighbor to join me in grocery shopping and doing it together we build relationship while doing a task that takes time. Or, we'll invite someone to join us in our family "play" events like camping, game playing, BBQ's, where not only are we having great family time, but we are also giving our children a chance to see living missionally is natural and easy.

You don't always have to "make a new slot" of time to live missionally, you just need to start thinking incarnationally. Inviting people into your lives and the unique way it unfolds each day, week, month and year.

Reframing life; from slots of time that you have available, into a life that is available. Available and obedient to allow Jesus to live through you in His mission to seek and save, to heal and restore, to free and grant hope and life eternal.

Marvin K. Mooney, will you please GO NOW!

1 comment:

  1. You are such an encouragement Katie! If we have time to exercise we have time to reach out to those we know who are far from Christ. It does come down to priorities.

    Christ said to love others as we love ourselves. Every single believer needs to think deeply about every person they know or meet. They need to see accurately where they are at, through the Holy Spirit, and then ask one simple question; "If I were them what would I want them to do for me?" Maybe its listening, fixing a door, spending quality time, buying them a drink, whatever!

    Its time we get into other peoples' lives and see what they need. We want other people to do that for us. Many Christians are busy being the chauffeur for their kids sports, music, etc that becomes overwhelming and crowding of their lives. Why not instead spend time reaching out to others and teaching your kids to really care about other people? Sports, music, etc does not matter in the end. But the reaching out you can do it that time does.

    I am definitely going to think of more ways I can reach out to others instead of getting lost in my world of writing, reading, and contemplating. And some things like Facebook can be a tool of reaching out. Been there and done that.

    Thank you Katie for that exhortation!