How are you doing this week? Over the past several months we have talked about navigating a pandemic, addressing the evils of racism, and becoming the leader God has created you to be. We have not focused as much upon our mission. So, my question today is related to our mission, “How are you doing with leading and nourishing Jesus followers to make a difference in their communities and the world?”
Maybe a better way to ask the question is, “How are you leading the people entrusted to your care in responding to the pandemic and to racism?” One of the misunderstandings of Christians today is to think that the Gospel offers us salvation while relieving us of responsibility for the life and well-being of the people in our communities, neighborhoods, and cities.
The pain and sorrow we have experienced over the past several months is interwoven into the fabric of our culture and deeply influence the thoughts and actions of all of us. Our mission, as Jesus followers, is to invite and equip people to not only address the pain and sorrow but to address the evil, the root causes, of the pain and sorrow.
How are you doing in leading your congregation in reaching out and receiving people, introducing them to God’s love in Jesus, practicing the teachings of Jesus, and engaging them in God’s love as they navigate the pandemic and respond to racism?
It’s NOT About a Political Position
To make disciples of Jesus is to call and equip people to be signs and agents of God’s justice in all human affairs. An invitation to accept the name of Jesus but fail to call people to be engaged in God’s love in everyday life is not Christian and must be rejected as false.
How are you leading the people entrusted to your care in responding to the pandemic and to racism? Another misunderstanding of many Christians in our culture today is to think that the Christian faith is a particular political position. People tend to politicize everything from “wearing a mask” to “Black Lives Matter.”
Our mission is not a political mission, it is a Gospel mission. A mission of love. Another way of saying it is, “Jesus didn’t call it ‘social justice.’ He simply called it love. If we would only love our neighbors beyond comfort, borders, race, religion, and other differences that we have allowed to be barriers, ‘social justice’ would be a given. Love makes justice happen.” (Bernice King in response to the death of John R. Lewis).
Jesus Moves Us Beyond Self-Interest
Now let’s be clear, the uncomfortable and unsettling conversations we are having about racism, white privilege, and white supremacy are not on the same scale as what many in our marginalized communities have experienced. Yet, the conversations are necessary.
The mandates to wear masks for the health and well-being of the people around us are not on the same scale of Constitutional rights. Yet, the wearing of masks is necessary. Our mission moves us beyond self-interest to moral conversations and actions. As uncomfortable as any conversation or action might be, loving our neighbors is enough to motivate us to change our behavior for the sake of God’s love and care for all people.
To make disciples of Jesus is more than inviting people to the church. It is to equip them to be signs and agents of God’s justice in all aspects of human life. To invite people to accept the name of Jesus is not an invitation to a particular political platform but is to immerse people in God’s love and to engage them in developing life changing relationships in their communities and the world.
So, as you are leading the people entrusted to your care, remember:
- We are all created by God. No one is created to be superior or inferior. Each of us, as human beings, regardless of color, race, nationality, or gender is created by God.
- As Jesus followers, we know that to love God is to love our neighbor and to love our neighbor is to love God. Regardless of political persuasion, to love God is to love neighbor. Regardless of color, race, or gender, to love God is to love neighbor, to love others, and to love one another.
- Each human being, regardless of race or color, is created in God’s image and is called to faith.
- To love one another is one-way people will know that we are Jesus followers and that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
- The way we treat one another we treat Jesus.
Your Next Step
How are you leading the people entrusted to your care in responding to the pandemic and to racism? Take a moment to think of the people entrusted to your care. With the people God has given to you to love in mind, I want you to do the following:
- Give God thanks for the opportunity to live and work in this time of chaos and confusion.
- Confess your need for a relationship with God and with the people entrusted to your care.
- Place the people, situations, and circumstances into God’s hands.
- Ask God to use you as an instrument of peace and love.
O God, thank you for the opportunity to live and work at this time in history. I confess that I do not know what to do, but I do know I need you and I need the people you have given me to love and to serve. As I place my relationships, the church, and the people around me into your hands, I pray that you will use me as an instrument of your peace and love. By your grace, I offer myself to you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
If you need and want help, contact us, Sara Thomas and I (Tim Bias) are ready to assist you in leading the mission of making disciples for the transformation of the world.