This past Sunday, the folks at Connexion looked at the way in which Jesus sent out the disciples – 2×2, empty-handed, dependent on the hospitality of others, and with a sense of great urgency. Although it didn’t make it in the final sermon due to time constraints, I came across this passage from G. Malcolm Sinclair that really convicts me. How well do we really know our neighbors? Their concerns? Their joys? Their successes? Their failures? How much have we truly invested in becoming a part of the community rather than imposing our own ideas, convictions, and agendas on others? Take a read and let me know what you think:
“Compared with the Twelve, we act as though we were sent out to be tourists rather than disciples in the world. We plan, pack, and go. The cab driver, the airport attendant, the ship’s crew are strangers – pleasant but separate. In every port, we are there solely for our own agenda. Hit the high spots, avoid the rubble, and return to sea. No wonder tourists are often resented by the locals. No wonder Christians who seek to impose their agenda on the stranger are often rejected.
“Might the witness we bear to the gospel at home also be touristlike? Our family wants and our business practices tend to be all about us, our church an institution that exists to meet our needs. To live as a tourist, even at home, is to live in a social bubble that negates our witness to the gospel. We were made to live in deep and abiding relation to one another and to order our corporate lives in relation to the common good. We glimpse this life when we choose to be vulnerable to the neighbor and the stranger, knowing the hurts, the needs, and the worth of the other. That is how disciples of Jesus Christ travel through life. Jesus sent his disciples out to be companions and friends, not tourists.”
When I am the center of my own world, everyone else exists in relation to me – my needs and agendas. When we realize that we have been sent out as ambassadors of Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:20), we realize that we must see people and relate to them as Christ would. We are representing a different Kingdom, a different set of priorities, a different strategy. What we need is a new focus, a new set of eyes, and a new mandate. What we need is nothing less than a conversion.