This post is brought to you by the Radical Series.
"Do you want us to go, God?"
That's what we're asking....for the first time in our lives.
That's where we've been for about a month.
One thing is for sure....things have to change.
After listening to the Radical Series our hearts are broken...angry...sick...sad...repenting.
Like I said, we've claimed to follow Jesus, and yet we don't really live the way He did or care about the things He loves.
Besides knowing all the right things to say, our lives do not really look much like Jesus'. We are the picture perfect family for the poster that is American Christianity...but when I look at Jesus...when I hear His heart in His Word about life...about living for heaven...I am painfully aware that there are some huge discrepancies between who Jesus is, and who I'm striving to be.
Aaron and I can throw down words like grace, truth, sovereignty, and gospel like the best of them, but our life as a family...the way we actually spend our money, spend our time and love this world do not look much different from people who do not know Jesus. We certainly don't live like the widow that Jesus commends. I guess a lot of great, Bible things are stuck in our heads, but not making a way into how we live our every day, real-life, lives.
We spend most of our money on ourselves every month. How awesome of us, right? Even if we were generous with some of our money, our bank statement does not lie. It says we spend a gigantic percentage of our income on ourselves. It says we live in splendor...in absolute extravagance...while people suffer around us.
Even though God says to share, to care for the poor, the orphan, to send out missionaries, we have somehow justified spending most of our money on our own family, buying ourselves tons of fun, unnecessary items while 24,000 children die every day of preventable diseases.
Regardless of whether or not God says "go" or "stay" big change is definitely coming our way. We want to share this part of our journey here, but my greatest fear is that you would think we're awesome for doing some of the things we may be doing soon (after Jesus pours a big fat, jumbo size portion of faith into our lives...cause we need it). We're not awesome. I hope we've established that. And for the first time in my life I don't think people who sacrifice for the gospel, live for heaven, spend their lives caring for the orphan and the poor are super stars. I think they know Jesus. I think they actually obey Him. I think they are living out basic Christianity.
I also think the converse may be true. I think scripture makes a pretty clear argument for people who live like my family has been living, hear Jesus teach and then continue living the same way they have always lived. Like the rich, young ruler, those people will walk away from Jesus sad.
We want to love Jesus. Really love Him. We want to listen to Him instead of hearing what He says and then blowing Him off or giving His clear instructions new meaning. We want him to tear away our earthly loves (which is extremely painful, by the way).
We're reevaluating our lives in a few specific categories...the poor...the orphan...our money...and missions.
For now, we're talking about missions....
In the Bible, Jesus says to "GO." Go make disciples of every nation.
We're trying to take our lives...look at them...and then figure out if we're being obedient to the Jesus we say we love.
Since we're not uber holy, always-been-fanatical-about-missions kind of people we had to start with some research.
Here are a ton of questions we're asking the Lord...
Do we need to go, God?
Where are we most needed?
Should we be here in the US making an American sized salary and sending it to other gospel-centered, needs meeting organizations and missionaries in other countries?
Should our family be the ones who go while others here send us?
Do more people need to leave the US and be the goers?
Do more people need to stay in the US and be the senders?
We're asking God which of those categories of people our family should fall into.
I've heard it said...many times (and ignored it)...
There are only two ways to live when it comes to missions and living out the great commission:
As people who go.
As people who send.
Any other category is called DISOBEDIENCE.
That's the category where we've made our home for years. We are asking God to lift us out of this dark pit...this cave that is self-absorption and show us clearly if He wants us to go or send.
This has been a time of many firsts for us as a couple.
The first time we're hearing Jesus speak and trying to quit ignoring Him.
The first time we're evaluating our lives in light of the great commission.
The first time we're asking God to help us to live for heaven.
The first time we're getting a real glimpse of how hard it is to live for something you cannot see with your eyes.
I don't want to live for this kingdom, but I do live for it. That's the only way to explain the size of our home, our flippant view of missions, and all the other ways we refuse to live generously and sacrificially. We aren't generous or sacrificial givers, because in order to be, we'd have to be convinced that this kingdom is not our reward. Our reward is waiting in heaven. In order to go, to send, to give in a way where we felt it as a family, we'd have to actually have faith. A faith that is alive, is meaningful and shaping every decision we make.
We want to be people whose greatest investment is in heaven...not in this earthly kingdom.
We need Jesus to grow our faith. We're asking Him to grow it.
I want to believe Jesus isn't a liar when He says:
Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?"
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.