Even in the Old Testament, in the middle of His ache to rescue His own distracted people, God’s eyes are across the water. According to Isaiah 49:6, “He says, ‘It is too small a thing that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make you a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.'” If you thought you followed a safe King who values comfort and small goals, sorry. There is danger here, risk, adventure. Vast dreams nestled in the mind that created black holes and dandelion fuzz.
Next time you’re in town, stop for a moment and listen. Coffee cups filling, cars rounding a corner, friends chatting at the crosswalk, shop doors opening, a waitress taking orders. These are the sounds of possibility, reminders that we’re not alone and that there’s much work still to be done.
This month we’ve looked at inreach—engaging with the body of Christ—here and here. Now let’s shift our focus to the outer world, to those who don’t yet know the sweet power of the gospel and the freedom it brings. We weren’t saved to live in our holy huddles; we were saved with a mission in mind, and that mission is waiting just outside the church walls.
Cheeks flush, eyes water, and any shred of dignity is squished like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at the bottom of a backpack. Thus begins an all-too-common struggle for people who were made to crave connection. It happens in the kindergarten class party. It happens in the high school lunch room. It happens in the teacher’s lounge. But have mercy on us if it ever, ever, ever happens in the church.
A lot of my thought life is taken up with the family of God, specifically the local church. As a pastor’s wife, it’s kind of my job. We make a big deal about one-on-one discipleship, small groups, Bible studies, Sunday morning services… but we don’t really talk as much about just hanging out with each other, getting to know the side of someone that only comes out during a good game of Scrabble or bowling or softball. As crucial as the serious stuff is, the “just for fun” category is equally important for building up the health of the church.