“Pick up your cross and follow me” …and stop being a goofball.Last week I found myself mulling over this profound phrase. Like a Child turning over a shinny new penny in my hand, I thought and thought about what this could possibly mean for me. What would I do with it and how could it change my life?….for the better that is.Yes, for the better. We always want better don’t we? Better life, better kids, better marriages, better organic food, better ability to juggle everything. Better.Yet on a human level, living missional offers about as many luxuries as that shiny new penny in a child’s happy hands. It’s the great inspirational catch phrase of our time, to “do” more with, but only a drop in the bucket of what is needed. What do we do when our missional ideals, don’t match the reality of the challenging tasks ahead?
Lugging the rugged Cross uphill was never part of the bargain was it?
We are now eight months into our first American church plant, in a different culture than the first, with none of the same rules to play by and none of the same support systems. My idealistic-rose colored glasses are very little use to me when the smoke from the rubber hitting the road fills my eyes. It’s always easy to “do great things” around a conference table, with a steaming caramel macchiato in my hand. Yet the longer I labor for the Lord the more I’m shown that Extraordinary, is most often accomplished in doing the ordinary things in life well.
If there are ten people in church today, well then, my extraordinary task in front of me is to love them well. To try and see them, meet them, begin to learn to care about them and who they are as Christ does. If there were 100 new people in church today, then how about I actually find a way to connect with at least one person? Not because I “should” as a good little Christian, but because this is one of my brothers and sisters…or someone I want as a brother or sister.
Sound easy? Simple even?But what if that person is nothing like me, perhaps even dangerous, a threat to my family, the safety of my husband, or the innocence of my child? What then? “Who is my Neighbor?” is a question I think every true disciple of Christ asks at some point or another.Truly living missional is stepping outside my sweet smelling comfort zones and backing away from “the better life” that I strive for, toward a ” better life” for someone outside of myself. Picking up my cross as I mediate on it, is picking up those very things that are the hardest for me, the unpleasant things, and following my Lord to the grave of “self” with it.Living missional is the beginning of picking up that cross, but dying missional is what actually happens when you keep carrying it.
Eight months into Gods mission in Long Beach, and I still have a long way to go in this lesson. Learning about the Discipleship of the cross.