For those of you who know me or read regularly, you know that I have been wrestling through (what I consider) a spiritual adventure. For the last year or more, I have been acutely aware that I do a fine job of living a small portion of Acts. And while I try, my life doesn’t necessarily resemble the early church. Yes I pray, I engage in community when possible, I gather together to learn, teach, and encourage. I let go of my material wealth intermittently–when I conquer fear of the unknown and of the insatiable need to accumulate.
But something has been haunting me and I was finally able to articulate it to my husband last week. What would it be like to live the gospel? How would my life change?
I have prayed, wrestled, and listened. Last week, God began sending people into our home to challenge me in this area. The gentleman who helped us install a window in our home sat down to dinner with us and shared his journey: He was riding a tractor one day, asking the Lord repeatedly for an answer–which the Lord finally granted along with a burning desire to share the gospel everywhere he goes.
This scares me. I am no good at this. In fact, when people ask what my husband does, I often answer, “He works with people of all ages.” Am I ashamed? Or am I not ready for conversation to shut down once they find out my husband is a pastor?
Whatever the reason, I have been confronted by God this morning–by the words of Jesus Himself–and have to face this truth. I hope it blesses and challenges you the way it has me:
There comes a time in our spirituality, after we have spent time with Jesus and realize who He is and what matters to Him, that we must then come to terms with who we are and what matters to us. The choice before us is not simple–but is the pulse, the beat, of who God is.
We may choose to stay acquainted with the gospel. Or we may choose to live it.
The disciples had been journeying with Jesus through Galilee, Tyre, and Sidon. They saw him heal the deaf, touch the sick, raise the dead, feed the hungry. Still, they didn’t understand. Jesus asked them, “Do you not have ears that hear or eyes that see?”
A man came who was blind. Jesus touched his eyes and asked what he could see. I see people and they look like trees. Jesus touched his eyes again and the man could see clearly.
It was then that Jesus told his disciples the requirement for living the gospel life: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
From Mark 8.
I wish I could explain to you the trembling in my core this morning as the Lord pierces me with the call to lose my life for the cause of the gospel. The answer is yes. It has always been yes. But never have I been so aware of the pressing need to DO SOMETHING in response.
Is it possible, then, that we have been given the gift of eternal life so that we might spent this one–here and now–on the cause of the Gospel?
Last fall, I went hiking in Utah with a close friend. We were surrounded by aspen trees, all changing their colors for the glory of fall. She told me, “Did you know a grove of aspens is the largest single living organism?” They are all genetically identical, sharing a single root system underground–all stemming off a single parent tree.
We, you and I, are much the same. Why are we drawn to people like John the Baptist–a wild man–or Mother Theresa–a woman of self-sacrifice? Why do stories like Katie Davis, Shane Claiborne, or fellow adoptive parents, Chrissy & Paul Jensen others impact us so?
Because they have chosen to live in a way that is unique, in a way that shares the same root system of the gospel. What if that wasn’t rare? What if it was so common that these people who serve so radically didn’t even stand out?
Lord, help us.