36 Days Down! 4 Days to Go!
Today’s chapter is the start of the 5th Purpose – Mission.
This chapter definitely reflects one of the newest additions to my relationship with God.
The idea of sharing Jesus was so odd to me just a little over a year ago. It would make me uncomfortable or I would think, “oh I don’t want to offend anyone,” which I still don’t want to do. However, I started thinking about all the other experiences (Spelman, Study Abroad, Fulbright) that I have had that I share with enthusiasm and passion and with ease. Then one day I just said to myself, “if I can share these things why not Jesus?”
Over time I have learned that I don’t have to share Jesus the same way with everyone nor do I have to be like those soapbox preachers who stand on street corners in major cities sharing the “good news” by scaring the bejesus out of people (“Isn’t it ironic…don’t cha think?”). As I have shared a bit on other days of this journey, this is an area of my relationship that I am working on and its getting better but I still struggle. However, this chapter definitely helps me get additional understanding on this area.
Growing up as a kid, mission as Rev. Warren describes it in this chapter was not something that was talked about in my church. Sure we had a Missionaries Ministry and I remember digging in my little purse or pockets to find spare change to put in the offering plate on “their” Sunday (Cultural clarification-Some churches take different offerings on different weeks in addition to the normal general offering and tithe) but my understanding was that was the money the church used to help people physically not spiritually. Now the latter could have been going on but I don’t remember that being shared on a Sunday but I was a kid.
Honestly, I never really thought about mission as a sharing of my faith until much later and even then I didn’t have a positive view about it thanks to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons who have knocked on my door over the years. Actually, I still remember when a Mormon came to my host mom’s house in the DR when I studied abroad there and she was sharing her faith in her developing Spanish. She was going so fast I couldn’t even tell her that I was a US Citizen and spoke English until after she finished. Anyway, as you can tell by earlier statements I have a new understanding about missions.
In the book, Rev. Warren starts the chapter by declaring, “You were made for a mission.” He continues:
God wants you to have both a ministry in the Body of Christ and a mission in the world. Your ministry is your service to believers, and your mission is your service to unbelievers. Fulfilling your mission in the world is God’s fifth purpose for your life.
Why not you? Based on what we have learned in this book, you have a unique purpose and you have a unique gift and by not fulfilling your purpose and sharing your unique gift someone on this planet is missing information they need. This also is true for sharing Jesus. Someone needs to hear about how you “came to Jesus” or came to a deeper relationship with God because that story will speak to them in a way that only your story can. Rev. Warren encourages us in this area when he shares that:
There are people on this planet whom only you will be able to reach, because of where you live and what God has made you to be. If just one person will be in heaven because of you, your life will have made a difference for eternity. Start looking around at your personal mission field and pray, “God, who have you put in my life for me to tell about Jesus?”
Additionally, Rev. Warren shares that:
The clock is ticking down on your life mission, so don’t delay another day…This does not mean you should quit your job to become a full-time evangelist. God wants you to share the Good News where you are. As a student, mother, preschool teacher, salesman, or manager or whatever you do… [Emphasis mine]
I mentioned earlier how I enthusiastically share with others various experiences that I have had. Because of this sharing, I know that there are people that have been and are going to Spelman College (including a family friend who starts in just a few weeks :D), have or will be going abroad while in college or have been on/are pursuing Fulbright grants because I shared my experiences with them and shared how these experiences changed my life. The changes these experiences have made in my life include, I know I would not be as successful as I am in graduate school without the support and foundation Spelman gave me and I know that I would not be fluent in Spanish if I had not studied abroad and I know that I would not be a PhD student if I had not gone on my Fulbright to do research and fall in love with researching.
With Jesus, the changes that I have made include being more patient, being more forgiving, not falling into the trap of addiction and more…Now, my new challenge is to share Jesus and these experiences in my own unique way while connecting with people. Lord willing, some day I will be able to say with confidence that, “I know people that have accepted Jesus because I shared my journey, the good and the bad, with them.”
It’s All Greek to Me…
If while reading today’s chapter or this post, all of this seems weird or unnecessary or any other adjectives that may be coming up for you…skip to the last section of the chapter called “One More for Jesus,” and then consider going back through the rest of the chapter.
Still not convinced? Check out this clip from Shindler’s List which touches on the importance of doing your part:
Today’s Question to Consider is, “What fears have kept me from fulfilling the mission God made me to accomplish? What keeps me from telling others the Good News?”
The fears that have kept me and keep me from sharing Jesus with others is fear of isolation, fear of being talked about/outcasted and fear of being a “Jesus freak.” I also had fear of the rejection around people saying no to Jesus (though learning more about witnessing and sharing Jesus I have learned that it is not up to us to “save” people it is only our job to share so this has helped in this area). The above fears also keep me from telling others the Good News. The other thing that keeps me from sharing is time – do I have time to have this whole conversation and deal with people’s “stuff” around God, religion or Christianity.
Enjoy your day!