Place, People, Purpose

I am more convinced than ever that to be a Christian is to be a missionary. Yet, we don’t think very much about this reality. We don’t consider the fact that if we are following Jesus it necessarily means that we are on mission.

Jesus never just hunkered down and hid out for long periods of time. He would withdraw for an evening or a morning to renew and recharge. However, his norm was to be on the move. He was, seemingly, always on mission. His life was one of engaging with the world around him. He would teach and heal. He would challenge the assumptions of the culture.

More than anything else Jesus stepped into the lives of people.

Jesus didn’t worry about the cultural norms of his day. There were people he wasn’t supposed to talk to. He didn’t care. He crossed those boundaries.

As I write this, I am sitting in a coffee shop. Behind me is an African American business man or lawyer working on a contract. To the left of me are two white men setting up a deck business. In the back of the shop is an Indian man coding. Sitting outside on the patio is a Muslim woman and a Catholic woman (the former wearing a hijab and the latter a tichel) laughing and talking about faith and watching their kids play.

There are people everywhere in this place. They are conducting business and living life. They are building relationships and growing friendships.

So, what do we as Christians do? Too often we keep our heads down. We ignore this beautiful world around us. We try to only have friends at church. By and large, we don’t build friendships with “those” people. After all, bad company corrupts good character. The other default is that we see people as conversion “projects.”

Neither option, is the Jesus way.

When we are on mission with Jesus it means that all of life is lived as an ambassador for him. We are to build relationships and friendships with those who God has seen fit to place in our lives. There are no boundaries that can’t be crossed. We are to love well.

We are called to love people and care for them. To do so means that we will need to step out into new places. Where are the places that people hang out in your neighborhood? The pool? The ball field? The coffee shop? The bar? The golf course? The gym? Go! Simply go and be present.

When you create space to be present in particular places you will begin to build relationships with the people who are also present in those spaces.

Will you show up to places on purpose? Will create space to be present? Will you live as an ambassador?