On of my favorite Proverbs is Proverbs 14:4, “Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.”
In other words, if you don’t have livestock, you don’t have any poop that stinks up the place & has to be scooped, but you can’t expect to have a great farm without hardworking animals.
This is true of life on mission as well. Me centered Christianity has taught us that God wants us to be happy, to give us a peace-filled life, safe from danger, & being nice & making it to church to support the pastor, cause he’s working so hard for God, is our role in the kingdom. That attitude is just like being without livestock on a farm. Don’t expect fruit, don’t expect a harvest. When people get on mission for God together it will not always be neat, clean, or smell good. It will be messy.
Life on mission will be messy, because sin is messy. And if you’re in the business of rescuing sinners, expect a foul smell. Addictions, foolishness, pain, abuse, poverty, broken relationships, hopelessness. Those are the things you’ll find out there on mission for God. Stay away & you’ll have a cleaner, neater, smell good life, but don’t expect as much spiritual fruit.
Life on mission will be messy, because relationships are messy. We will have differences of opinion & awkward moments & bad days among us. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” and iron on iron creates sparks. If you avoid deep, gospel centered, mission driven relationships, you might have a cleaner, neater, smell good life, but don’t expect as much spiritual growth.
Life on mission will be messy, because of the cost. You will get taken advantage of. You will find yourself outside of comfort zones. You will have seasons of fruitlessness. You will experience rejection. “All those who live godly in Christ Jesus WILL BE persecuted.” Christianity that cost you nothing is a mission-less Christianity that doesn’t find its root in the way of Jesus & the Apostles. Stay away from spending yourself for Jesus & His mission & life may be cleaner, neater, & smell better.
If you want to pursue God’s mission & produce fruit for His kingdom, give up on having a clean, neat, smell good life all of the time. It may require a shovel, old clothes, lots of hand soap, etc. But you can expect the joy of the Lord, the provision of strength from His Spirit, the promise of hearing him say “well done,” the fruit of lives changed, growth & maturity, & the peace of knowing God is using you for His purposes.
What does your stable look like? Our communities desperately need On Mission Christians that don’t shy away from the messiness of sin, relationships, or sacrifice if we’re going to have a harvest of souls.
Started a summer study through the book of Proverbs at Bridge Church yesterday. I love Proverbs because it covers every issue we face in life through the lens of God’s inspiration. And because I love hard candy that takes a while to digest. Many of the Proverbs are like that. But spend time on them and you will grow wiser and follow them and your life will be different. What does the wise life look like? Here’s a little checklist:
According to Proverbs, you might be wise if…
- You choose your friends wisely.
- You listen to others.
- You can receive correction from others.
- You fear the Lord.
- You discipline your children effectively.
- You are generous with your wealth.
- You treat the poor with care & concern.
- You are careful with your words.
- You refuse gossip & slander.
- Your words mean a lot to others.
- You save sex for marriage.
- You love your spouse enthusiastically.
- You can control your temper.
- You understand the dangers of abusing alcohol.
- You are not afraid of hard work.
- You are honest in your business dealings.
- You can be trusted as a friend.
- You can be kind to your foes.
- You rely on God’s word.
- You trust God for salvation & provision.
- You are not easily led into evil by others.
- You do not lie.
- You are humble instead of prideful.
- You stay away from flirtation & the flirtatious.
- You hate evil.
- You are more concerned about who you are that what you have.
- You can define riches without talking about money.
- You have a truly meaningful life.
- You have a good reputation with others.
- You trust God instead of yourself & others.
Wise up with us Sunday’s, 10:30am at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum in Madisonville.