My iPhone alarm woke me this morning, as usual, with the Newsboys singing,
“Put on your backpack
Throw out your road map
God’ll use anything
Check it and see
He’s givin’ us more than we ever could ask for
That’s the way you roll when you’ve been set free”
I clicked my phone off airline mode and the bells and alerts started immediately. Text messages, 11 emails, 2 Facebook notifications. 20 minutes later I was still lying in bed already in the midst of three seperate conflicts all involving Christ followers not loving each other very well. Mama told me there would be days like this.
After a few brief responses, I headed to the shower asking God why we have such a hard time loving each other and being the body of Christ. Shampooing my ever-thinning hair, my mind bounced around the scripture committed to memory. The bible says a lot about love. Twenty minutes later I realized I was still pushing shampoo around on my head. Maybe that’s why I’m going bald. I lose track of time when I’m talking with God and praying for people.
By 11:00am I have had two phone conversations urging people just to trust God enough to put themselves aside and follow His Word. “I dare you to be like Jesus.” I’m naive enough to believe that it really is that simple. Neither conversation went very well. Both left me with a knot in my stomach. Is this what people at the customer service desk feel like when they can’t just nod and give people everything they want?
Conflict is tiring. It drains me. I’ve come to the place where it hurts. It doesn’t really hurt my feelings, I can deal with that and am probably too thick skinned. What hurts me is that I have grown to the point where I ache when I see things hurt the cause of Christ. The cause of of Christ, the advancement of the Good News of Jesus the Rescuer, is what we need to have unity on. I don’t see a whole lot of “issues” in Scripture where anyone calls for unity and total agreement. I do see a lot that stresses unity in the purpose of pressing on to make Christ known.
I remember Dr. Louia Gransee telling me, “Never major in the minors” when I was first beginning this path of ministry. It seems to me that we do an awful lot of majoring in the minors today while the major of making followers of Jesus gets set aside. We’re just too busy doing God stuff to bother with that Great Commission thing.
Minors like decorations, musical styles, clothing, format and selfish desires shelve the majors time after time.
If we are so focused on personal growth and “ministry” that we cannot point to one single relationship with someone who doesn’t know Christ, we are missing the point of the gospel entirely.
Maybe it’s time that we quit growing and start going …
Here’s an idea … skip your comfy home group this week and invite people who don’t know Jesus over for dinner. If you’re too busy with your own church stuff or personal growth stuff to make time for people who don’t know Jesus, you are missing the point.
My Christian family should give me the strength to go out, not provide a spiritual excuse not to.
Colossians 3:12-15 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. (The Message)