the weblog of Alan Knox

Demonstrating the heart of God

Posted by on May 19, 2008 in missional, synchroblog | 5 comments

This post is part of the “Missional Synchroblog” organized by Jonathan of “Missio Dei“. Jonathan has proposed that we each publish one post per month over the next four month concerning four different topics: 1) What does missional living look like to me? (see my post “Living the love of God“) 2) What attracts me to missional? 3) Where is God calling me into mission? and 4) My best missional story. Since this is the second month of the synchroblog, the topic is “Why am I missional?”

Several years ago, when Jeremy was only about 7 or 8, I was sitting on the sofa with him one Sunday afternoon watching television. He took the remote controls and starting flipping through the channels. Eventually, he came to a professional football game. Now, you should know that Jeremy has always loved football. And, we had gone to high school football games and college football games together. We had also watched college football games on television often. But, since I had never enjoyed professional football, we had never watched an NFL game together.

But, when Jeremy saw there was football on the television, he stopped flipping through the channels. Over the next couple of hours (and few years), Jeremy fell in love with professional football. That afternoon, he asked me several questions about the NFL game, because many of the rules were different from the college games that he had seen before. I had to admit that I did not know much about the different rules.

As Jeremy grew to love professional football, something interesting happened to me. I started caring more about the NFL. Nothing changed about professional football, except now, someone that I loved cared about the game and the league. Since Jeremy cared about professional football, I started caring as well.

We do not have to read through the pages of Scripture long before we find out that God cares about people, especially the least, the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the prisoners, the sick, the oppressed, the widows, the orphans, and the foreigners. God cares about them. Someone I love cares about these people.

When we read the Book of Jonah, we see that God cared so much for the city of Nineveh that he sent Jonah to warn them about his judgment. When Jonah finally went to warn the Ninevites (the enemies of Israel) to repent, they did… and Jonah pouted. In fact, Jonah cared more about a plant that withered than he cared about a city of thousands of people that was about to perish.

As much as I would like to condemn Jonah, I have to admit that I often have his attitude. I care much more about the things that directly affect me – no matter how minor those things are – than I care about the things that God cares about – especially the least and the lost people of the world. So, in reality, if I were to answer the question, “Why am I missional?” I would have to say, “Many times, I’m not missional”.

But, I know that God has called me – an all of his followers – to take his gospel and his love to the least and the lost of this world. Yes, this includes the good news of Jesus Christ. This is extremely important. But, as Jesus told his followers, what we do for the least, we also do for him. If we see a lost and thirsty man, and only give him a glass of water, we are not fulfilling our responsibilities of demonstrating God’s heart to see people redeemed to himself through Jesus Christ. However, if we see a lost and thirsty man, and only tell him about Jesus, neither are we fulfilling our responsibilities of demonstrating God’s heart. As Jesus showed us, we demonstrate God’s heart by giving him both the gospel and also a glass of water.

Why am I missional? Because God cares for people. And, because of my love for God, I can’t help but demonstrate the heart of God toward other people – unless, of course, I hinder what God is doing in my own heart.

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Here are some additional posts from bloggers who are takin part on the synchroblog question of “Why Am I Missional?”:

Jonathan Brink – Why I am missional
Jeromy Johnson – Why I am missional: Three Reasons
Ben Wheatley – WWSBD – What Would Shepherd Book Do
Bryan Riley – Jesus is the way and he was missional
Alan Knox – Demonstrating the heart of God
Tim Jones – Participation or Observation?
Blake Huggins – Missional Synchroblog: Why am I missional?


5 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 5-19-2008

    Alan, I just want you to know that I very much appreciate your honesty. I have had to face the fact that most of the time I do not love others as I believe Yeshua has commanded us to. The first time I came face to face with my hardness of heart towards others was as I sat in a Sunday School teachers meeting and was encouraged by our S.S. Superintendent to follow up with the children who missed classes, even going to their homes to let them know that we loved them and cared about them. I realized then & there that I didn’t love the children in my class THAT much. Sad, but true! And unfortunately, this is an area I still struggle with. The Self is very strong and very selfish. It’s easy to love those that I choose to love, mostly family and some friends, but even there I have to keep after myself to love them when & how they need to be loved, not just when it suits my agenda or schedule. I’ve been following the posts about missional living and have to admit that it’s an area of my life that has a lot of room for improvement. If I am truly committed to walking as Yeshua walked, then I need to have His heart for those my life touches, whether my family, friends, the people who live in our community, my co-workers, members of our faith community, or members of my online community. My toes are being stepped on big time here, thinking in particular of a man I’ve been writing to for several years now who’s in prison & was moved to the prison less than 20 miles from us last year, yet I still haven’t managed to make a personal visit to him. There really is no justifiable excuse; if I really wanted to make a visit happen, I could. Same goes for ministering God’s love to any one else in my life. I know the Holy Spirit has been telling me that it’s time to quit with the excuses and JUST DO IT. I really believe that it’s only as we die to our selves and walk in God’s love, that agape love that can only come from a right relationship with Him, towards those our lives touch, putting others’ needs before our own, that we will be effectual witnesses for Him and see souls added to His Kingdom. I have not arrived yet, but I continue to press towards that goal, being thankful that His mercies are new every morning! Thanks for sharing, brother! Once again, you have encouraged me to keep seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness! Take care and may the grace of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah be with you!
    Love in our Messiah,
    Cindy in Wisconsin

  2. 5-19-2008

    Thanks Alan for your journey and honest words.

  3. 5-19-2008

    Cindy,

    Thanks for the comment! I appreciate your sharing about how God showed you that you don’t love people like you should. Sometimes I think we only share the good things in our lives. Discipleship requires that we share our failures as well.

    Jonathan,

    Thank you for organizing this synchroblog.

    -Alan

  4. 5-20-2008

    It is always two sides of the same coin, isn’t it? Loving God and loving others. Faith and works. And so much more.

  5. 5-20-2008

    Bryan,

    Yep… you can’t have one without the other.

    -Alan