Earlier this week, I hung out with a group of over 50 young kids packaging clothes for orphans and people in India and the Ukraine. (Now, whether they were there with a genuine heart for orphans or for the pizza they got afterwards is uncertain) but the reality is this – on short notice over 50 high-school kids came to do something for kids across the globe they’ve never met. I think that’s pretty cool. I think teaching youth to give as a habit is a pretty cool concept. That requires being intentional.
I have been thinking a lot about intentional living lately. How do I live on purpose for God and His kingdom in my community, right where God’s placed me today?
There’s a common thought in the missions circles I frequent that seems to think that being “on the field” (living in a foreign country doing ministry) is the only place to serve God, or at the very least the BEST place to serve Him. Oh, we talk about having mission fields here too, but I always walk away feeling as though I somehow have failed because I haven’t “arrived” at the place where God finally called me to LIVE overseas in more than just my heart. I bought into it. Hook line and sinker. There’s a sense of inadequacy or insecurity in being so deeply connected with international missions and global poverty and yet being stateside. (By the way, I happen to be having a change of heart with that one, coming from a greater understanding of God and a realization that we’re all called to serve on a mission field, it just may be a different geographical location. Each has it’s struggles and one should never be exalted more than another…) But anyway, this is not a message about that.
Intentional living: as in, taking the things that Jesus teaches and applying them to the details of life with a sense of immediacy and action. This means discipleship. This means a serious spiritual transformation that is action-focused, communal, experimental, and connected to the real world challenges and opportunities.
This is about more than looking internally and focusing my efforts on a church family, or the Christian community that is safe and family oriented and the same people, the same thing that I’ve always known. This is about reaching out to the broken right around me, whether that means hanging out with High Schoolers and packing clothes for orphans in India, or whether that means hanging out in strip clubs ministering to the women in there, or whether for me that means moving to Africa to work with women in prostitution. IT MEANS GETTING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE and going to the places where Jesus would have hung out, which frankly, looks a lot different than a potluck group. IT MEANS DYING TO ME and bringing the light of Jesus to the places where there is no light. (Please don’t misunderstand me though. Places to come together as believers and fellowship are very important. I just believe there has to be more to our walk than that.
I’m praying through this, and blogging about it for my own accountability. I’m taking a good hard look at my life, and asking a group of women to come alongside me in that and keep me accountable for what I’m saying here. I’m not writing this because I’ve achieved. I’m writing because I’ve failed. I’ve listened too long to the people who tell me I’m either not doing enough because of where I’m living, or doing too much because of how I fill my time. Enough excuses.
I believe there’s a movement of the Spirit through God’s people right now in waking us up to live more intentionally – to walk away from the wealth and give away our excess. There’s a movement as the Spirit calls us away from the comfortable and into the HARD. Because we’re finding that in the middle of the hard and the hurt, we find Jesus.
So carry on, warriors of God. May you live intentionally, for the glory of the Kingdom on this earth.