As men how truly adventuresome are we? Don’t we all aspire to be significant? And in what way? Does our spiritual life figure into this equation?
When we’re thankful for many answers to prayer in our churches we often feel our prayer life is good. But were almost all of them about health issues and a few about finances or jobs? So does this constitute what God seeks for us? What experiences in our lives grow our faith? Or better yet what experiences in our lives SHOULD have grown our faith?
Isn’t a failure of almost all of us to not be praying and inviting people to our church? We’re comfortable around the people we already know or some we know that don’t want to hear about church. As I write this I have to ask myself what has been my level of effort? I’ve tried this before but had limited success – but try is not enough – my best is not enough – only whatever it takes through the power and direction of the Holy Spirit is sufficient level of effort.
Unfortunately I know that I’ve not prayed about it. Especially in this COVID-19 pandemic. And if I did what would it take? Writing down a few names, praying for them, maintaining a casual relationship, etc.? How much of my time would it take? The obvious solution is to pray – pray in earnest to be put into uncomfortable situations that will lead to salvation or spiritual healing for someone I barely know at the start.
There are also Christians who are not growing and who display very few Christian virtues. There are Christian families that are just plain unsafe for children. There are situations like children waiting for school buses not being safe. There are areas overseas where whole Christian communities are persecuted. And equally worse are the many moral failures within the body of Christ.
When I think of “unsafe” this is what I think of. But to follow God’s lead and intervene as He would lead us, means that we would be in unsafe circumstances. As a follower of Christ, can I honestly say that I shouldn’t be asked to do so? Should I be able to say that there are people I know that can’t be forgiven? Jesus would say “didn’t I forgive?” Isn’t Jesus willing to forgive that very same person?
If we are Christian then we’re safe no matter the illness or circumstances of our lives; except if we step out of God’s Grace. Our true struggles are the elements of our fallen world which will claim all of our lives sooner or later. Our true struggles are spiritual in nature and we can only be “safe” when our lives are guided by prayer and obedience to God. Look at all that Jesus suffered and now He is sitting at the right hand of God. That is the “safe” I want to be. That’s what I pray for.
But if I have the true heart of Jesus I won’t be satisfied with my family and friends being “safe”. I will truly long for the safety of everyone that I could have the opportunity to meet. God already knows who those people are for me. But I won’t know who they are until I pray and listen for God’s prompting.
Isn’t it a fact that we learn more from failure than success? That is if we’re determined to succeed. And the success in God’s paradigm is not health and wealth but touching people’s lives with the love of Jesus.
There’s one scenario that’s not been included; and that is self-sufficiency. The key word is the word “self”. Self is following our flesh and the sinful desires that spring from that. What we need is to be “God sufficient”. And the path we follow is one step at a time.
My own words convict me, and I’m sure the goal of many, even Chrisitians, is to be self-sufficient. Adam and Eve through that too, and it cost them dearly. My example of what to do is the apostle Paul. Paul’s letters are full of advice for living Godly lives and serving God.
I know people who were Evangelists in the underground mission to China. Another whose daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren served as evangelists 10 miles from ISIS held Mosal. And a church member in a medical mission to Columbia including armed guards. I participated in short-term mission trips in more peaceful places like the Dominican Republic and on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. Both places had armed guards with the walled compounds we stayed at.
But my greatest challenge has been to befriend people who had no friends and lived on the margin of society. Easy to do in recovery and rescue missions. I’ve been commended by my church by people who wouldn’t even consider this. In fact at my church when our evening meal and Bible Study was turned into a public meal and Bible Study half of our members stopped coming. And people willing to clean up afterwards dropped out soon after. Then I became a one-man clean-up crew. AS an Elder I also had the responsibility for everything (although the women did the major task of cooking and serving).
The last area I intend to pursue once this pandemic is over is karaoke. I do a fair job singing and I do get a good audience. But most of all are men who come alone. I make it my goal to keep them company. I also give generous tips to the servers. I sing secular and Christian music. So they know what my faith is. Having been an atheist, a part of liberal churches, and now in Biblical churches, plus the various guys I’ve also mentioned, I’m able to relate to almost anyone. And in the last two years I’ve been corrected about my Bible thumping. So I’ve thought of ways to talk about religion that does not put people off.
All of us who call ourselves Chrisitian are too busy if we can’t take time to mentor someone. And pray and help and listen and spend time with people who don’t know they need the Lord; but they do. There’s no real tangible way to measure your significance except by the comforting of the Holy Spirit. And what could be better than that anyway?