Three and a half years ago, I wrote a post called “Demonstrating the heart of God” as part of a “missional” sychroblog. This was my second post in a four month long synchroblog. In this post, I was supposed to answer the question, “Why am I missional?” Of course, many people continue to argue and debate and disagree and study the meaning of the word “missional.” It’s my desire to simply demonstrate the heart of God.
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.