Yesterday (Sunday, August 6) some in one of our community groups participated in The Minnesota Lynx Great Basketball Dribble. The event was a 2.5-mile walk/dribble to benefit breast cancer research at Mayo Clinic here in MN. Each participant gave (from themselves or a sponsor) $25 to be involved. To be honest, three years ago I most likely wouldnâ€™t have taken a group corporately to an event like this. This event wouldnâ€™t have fit into my grid of what â€œchurchesâ€ do. Well, maybe if we went on the walk and handed out information about the church or something similar. But the more I listen to Jesusâ€™ words, the more I understand the Gospel message is a holistic one, impacting all areas of life. I believe Jesus was pleased to see some of His followers walking down the shaded streets of downtown Minneapolis for the purpose of somehow being used to eradicate a horrible disease like cancer.
My outlook of what it means to truly follow Jesus is shifting dramatically. I am shifting away from this position:
Following Jesus means I am saved from an eternal destiny in hell to a wonderful inheritance called heaven. Because of this I am no longer supposed to sin and I am responsible to convert as many people as I can to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. This, and only this, will keep others from hell as well.
Obviously there is nothing false about this statement. I do believe in heaven & hell, and that belief/faith in Jesus is the only way to experience eternal life. I think this outlook of what following Jesus is not wrong, but incomplete. I am finding myself shifting more to a position like this (concerning what it means to follow Jesus):
Following Jesus means immersing myself in an eternal (beginning now), amazing, intimate walk with God forever (abundant life). This relationship impacts every area (holistic) of my life. It not only means I stop sinning, but I also really start living. I strive to make a difference in the world by using my gifts, talents, abilities, and sweat to see Godâ€™s kingdom & will (see Lordâ€™s prayer) become a reality here on earth. I believe God is active & present on earth now. I want to either join in where His activities are taking place or be used by Him to create environments for others to participate in His desires for this world & the next.
So back to the Great Dribbleâ€¦ Even though this was sponsored by U.S. Bank & The Minnesota Lynx (that is a WNBA team for those of you who have no idea) instead of First Whatever Church, I think God was present there. I believe God is concerned for those suffering from breast cancer. Many of the stories of the Gospels describe Jesusâ€™ compassion & healing of physical sicknesses.
God is active other places as well. I want to join in. I want Consumed Ministries to join in. I want to not only take the message of â€œlifeâ€ verbally to people, but also through service, love, and sacrifice as well.