without participation in His mission to the world." - James A. Scherer
I read that this week in a book I actually have already read, but for some reason I passed it by the first time without much thought. This time however, the weight of it hit me as if it was something roughly the size of a grand piano being dropped from a hundred feet and landing squarely on my chest.
If what Mr. Scherer is saying is in fact true, then I have to conclude that most of the Christians that I know rarely have, if ever, "participation in Christ." I suppose for that to really sink in and make sense, we would have to understand what Scherer meant by "participation in Christ," and although I cannot be sure on his exact intentions, I don't believe he meant to imply that we could not have at one time or another experienced the Love of Christ, but rather that we, without being active participants in his mission to the world, cannot experience the LIFE that comes in Christ, which according to Christ himself, is the very thing He came to bring!
So while I sit in church and sing songs of God's goodness, mercy, grace, and power, while I listen intently to sermons, pray and read, if I refuse to get my hands dirty doing his work, if I refuse to step out of my comfort zone, if I refuse to help those in need of God's grace, If I refuse to proclaim his gospel, I refuse any participation or LIFE in Christ.
Paul said in Acts 20:24, "I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Can you imagine living in such a way that all else is worthless compared to fully participating in the mission of Christ- the message of God's grace to the world? Later Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:19 that if the gospel isn't true than he, more than any other, is most to be pitied. Because, it was for the sake of the gospel that Paul gave his life, and if the gospel is not true than every once of Paul's life, after Christ, would have been wasted entirely.
I realized after reading what James A. Scherer spoke, I cannot claim that my life has been entirely wasted on the gospel. I cannot claim that my life is worth nothing to me except to testify to God's grace. I cannot claim to truly have any participation in Christ. So, this week I have been thinking about that statement, and I have been thinking about what my life would look like if I started living the gospel instead of listening to it, and frankly, I don't know what it would look like. I have seen it truly lived out in few people, but what I am certain of is that I want to be one of those people. I want to completely dedicate my life on the the good news of God's grace, I want to participate so deeply in Christ and His mission, that if it isn't true (and I believe more than anything that it is) my life will have been nothing but wasted.
So, my prayer is this, that Jesus would open my eyes to opportunities in which I can be Him to a dying world. And my prayer is that when I am given those opportunities He will give me the courage to participate.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
without participation in His mission to the world." - James A. Scherer
Monday, June 9, 2008
I can hardly believe that Chris and I have been married for a year now! It is just amazing how time flies. It really seems like its barely been a couple of months, but here we are a year later, and we have survived it! This may have been the most difficult and the most rewarding year of my life. I have been so very blessed to have such an incredible husband, and I can't wait to see where this next year takes us!
Friday, June 6, 2008
So, it's hard to believe that I have been at my current job for over a year! Although everyday goes by incredibly slow, the year, as a whole, has flown. For any of you who don't know, I work at a very small company that has absolutely nothing to do with my degree. Though, I love the people I work for, and perhaps they have been all that has kept me here, I really don't like my job. It's not that I don't like what we do, in fact, when I actually have something to do, I enjoy it! The problem is just that. I have NOTHING to do! Seriously. I am here 8 hours a day, and on a good day the phone will ring on average 5 times. On a really really good day the calls are more than sales calls, wrong numbers, or automated messages (I hate those!). Every now and then I'll have a day that requires something of me, but I would say that out of the entire year + I have been here I have a had about 2 weeks worth (not consecutive days) of busy time. I find myself wondering how I am still here, how I have LET myself still work here. I am constantly thinking, I know I am too smart to sit here and waste my days! (or at least I used to be, before all of my brain cells started dying off from boredom!) Here is a quick rundown of my daily activities:
I get here at 8:30
check my work e-mail (usually just deleting junk mail)
check my personal e-mail
read every blog I know of
check my bank account
check out the organizational tip of the day at MarthaStewart.com
Do the USA Today crossword (I'm getting pretty good!)
Check facebook again (I know, I'm so lame)
Check my bank account again
go to the bathroom (even if I don't have to go, just to get out of my chair)
read wikipedia (any article really. one day i read about Scientology for 4 hours! those people are nuts!)
oh! the phone just rang! Yes! better answer it! crap, they hung up...
etc. etc. etc.
you get the point. So anyway, the other day, one of my co-workers, he is from India, and and nominal Muslim sent me an IM telling me that I said something to him a couple of months ago that left a really great impact on him, and he just wanted to say thank you. I don't know what I said, and he said he couldn't repeat it, because it wasn't really one comment it was whole conversation. He and I have had some really great conversations, (conversations with people here are about the only thing that keeps me sane) and they usually revolve around faith or God, and the beliefs we had in common. We have never really had a conversation where I attempted to "witness" to him in a traditional sense. We just talk very openly and honestly in a completely non-threatening and non persuasive way. Understand, this has been completely intentional on my part. I have never once looked for an opportunity or hoped for one where I could tell him that his whole family is wrong and that Jesus is the only way. I simply shared my life with him, and allowed him to share his life with me. I do recall expressing to him that the reason I have picked Jesus is because I simply can't find anything better, and because it is the only way I know I can wake up each morning and not feel guilty. (Selfish, perhaps, but true.)
Anyway, I don't know what it was that I said, or did exactly, but he said
"it was the most human thing that any one has ever said to me. The most profound- one human to another thing. I don't know how to explain it."
Then we went on after that to talk about grace and forgiveness.
I am not writing all of this to brag about whatever "brilliant" thing I said, who knows when, but I am writing this because I have struggled. I have struggled and struggled this year to find my place, my direction, my purpose. I have wrestled with God and asked him what on earth I am doing here wasting my time. I have pleaded to be used and to have a purpose. And all the while, I felt like God said nothing! I hate feeling useless more than anything in the world, and that has made this year, and this place, and this job, nearly unbearable for me! But yesterday I was told this, that I made a difference. That God used me. It may have been just this one time and in this whole year, but if that is the case, IT'S WORTH IT! If I have only been here so that one person might experience the love and the grace of Jesus Christ, then its all worth it.
My friend knows the struggle it's been for me to be here with nothing to do (he has a real job and is very busy) So I said to him:
"well maybe that's why i work here!
so that one time, i could have been sitting in your office talking with you, saying something that i didn't know would mean something to someone else. I'm glad I don't know what I said to you, because it keeps me humble. I believe that God does stuff like that, speaks through people when they don't know. Because most of the time we're all bumbling idiots, but every once in a while he uses us for something good in spite of ourselves."
It's a relief to know that God has already forgiven me for questioning His plan.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I went home to see my little brother graduate from high school last week. I am so pround of him! I can't believe he isn't a little kid anymore. It was so wonderful to spend some time visiting with my family and dearest friends, and I can hardly believe that I won't get to do it again until Christmas. Yet, as wonderful as it was, it left me with a sort of strange empty feeling. It's an odd feeling, when, for the first time, you realize that you no longer belong at the place you have always called "home." I can't say that it makes my top 10 list for best feelings in the world.
The biggest trouble with it all is, I don't feel like I belong here in Dallas either.