31 Dec, 2011 New Year: A word to motivate you to your Mission
A word to motivate you to your Mission as a Christian
This is a reflection specifically for Christians. I note also that it’s intended to motivate – not cause guilt.
We often talk about the abundance of time we have in life to do the most important things – the most important of which is, without doubt, sharing the message of Jesus with those around us (if we believe the Bible to be true). But is there really a lot of time for this?
The phases of life
A new year dawns, and with it new opportunities. Consider what might happen this year:
– you may move house, so the opportunity to encourage those current neighbours will have run out…
– you may chance school, class, or place of work – so those opportunities will be over also.
Life somehow happens in phases – and maybe there is divine purpose to that. We move house 4 or 5 times in life – and maybe jobs 3 to 10 times also. We might move cities, or even country… and mix with different people through various interests and hobbies and even one-off activities. Our children’s years at pre-school, then primary, then intermediate, then… bring us into contact with even more people for a few short years at a time… …and there will be yet another set of people there when we go into a rest home…
…and maybe it is all with purpose.
To add to the mix, consider that some people we know might die this year (in fact, its pretty much guaranteed). Consider also that God already knows who they are – even though we don’t. The fact is opportunities do not last forever, and do not always come twice!
Just think back to all those people you met in previous ‘seasons’ of your life. Maybe you thought, “I’ll see them again… Another opportunity to share Christ will come later…” – but have you seen them, and have you shared? How many people are you now waiting to ‘see again’? I know that I have many – but I increasingly realise that those seasons are gone! I’m in a new season, and there are people around me I need to be a light to (poor light that I still feel I am).
Each phase has a purpose because it connects you to people God loves!
God’s Mission, and the single reason for which our planet continues to rotate upon its axis (e.g. Matthew 24:14, 2 Peter 3:9, 15), is reaching out to those who do not yet know Him. Life is short. As much as we humans sometimes deny God is there, or harden our hearts to Him – He is real, and reaches out still – but we are His hands and feet, and mouths!
The harsh reality…
As Christians – if we are at all sincere in our belief – our greatest hypocrisy is surely to not tell others about Christ. I don’t mean to offend, but – honestly – if we believe the Bible to be true, what could be more uncaring than that?
Imagine a friendship is going well. You don’t want to make it ‘uncomfortable’ by introducing talk of religion into the conversation. You thus weight the benefits and costs and determine what? That your own comfort is more important then their opportunity to understand the message of the cross and potentially find God and receive eternal life? Indeed, we can be a selfish and heartless lot! We claim to believe the Bible, but then do little to share or encourage faith in others. We help the poor because that is easy – but when it comes to sharing the hope there is in Christ…
Conclusion: If you can take encouragement from this, I have two questions for you…
I know some may feel guilty from reading such reflections – please trust that isn’t my goal. I really don’t believe in living under guilt. (We’ve all failed heaps in life. Just say sorry to God – trust His grace – but then look to the future and how you can grow. I fail plenty – that’s what I do).
A new year is here, and it brings new opportunities.
Count your years – maybe you have an estimated 50 to go – or 30 – or 15… Whatever the case, that represents limited opportunity for the most important thing – sharing Christ (as well as for other important things also).
Read Matthew 24 and Luke 17 and 21 and 1 Thessalonians 2 and 2 Thessalonians 4 and the book of Revelation and Daniel… Could the predicted time be coming? If so, you may have even less time than that too!
Question 1: Regarding this year – how could you grow, and what could you do?
We don’t change overnight – but what new thing could you learn or grow in, so as to be a better witness for Jesus?
Also, as you are alive, and other people who are also alive are around you, what could you do to share or encourage faith?
At this link here there are 10 ways to share Christ – eight of which don’t involve words.
We can all do something!
Question 2: Regarding the rest of your life – how could you restructure your life?
We all get stuck in ‘habits’ and patterns of living. Maybe work dominates your life… Maybe a hobby does… Maybe you are consumed in your family life such that there is no time for anyone else…
Sometimes the things that take up our time are good things – but are our balances right? What do you think Jesus would do were He in your situation?
The principle question is, how could you ‘restructure’ you life so as to make God’s Mission (Matthew 28) your mission?
– could downsizing your house reduce debt, enabling you to work less, and thus give more focus to sharing faith?
– could changing careers help?
– do you need to watch less TV, take up exercise – and then, once a little fit, take up a sport of some kind to connect with more people?
– do you need to train yourself in some area so as to create fresh opportunities for service and witness?
Whatever it is, we all live just once, and it is our responsibility to make the most of our lives – but not just for ourselves – for others! This life is not all there is – and the years do fly by. Opportunities do not always come twice. You are alive, and there is a new year ahead of you that you can only live this year once, and enjoy the coming opportunities once!
I pray this inspires some reflection – and then some action that might not have happened otherwise, for that is the point.
Weak witness that I often feel I am, I ponder upon the same too.
Take time to reflect!