Living out our commission…..

Today in Purpose Driven Life our students were studying the final few chapters on evangelism, our mission in the world to unbelievers. We were discussing the characteristics of a “worldly person” compared to a “world-class Christian”. Rick Warren cites 4 areas by which the two types of individuals might be differentiated:

Primary Focus: Worldly people are self-centered. Their focus is entirely on themselves. World-class Christians are focused on God and others.

Time: Worldly people are interested in the here and now, this moment, and immediate gratification. World-class Christians are more concerned with eternal things, the impact of today’s actions on the future, and understand delayed gratification.

Place: Worldly people are “local” in their interest and effort. World-class Christians are mindful of and recognize their connection to others on a global scale.

Response: Worldly people look for reasons why they can’t and make excuses. World-class Christians seek ways to creatively fulfill the purpose to which they know they’ve been called.

The aspect that captured our attention most was the idea of “place”. In Acts 1:8 Jesus tells His disciples to ….”be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.” We discussed what this means for us today and concluded that “Jerusalem” is right in the midst of where we live – among our friends and family- in the familiar daily context of our lives. “Judea” is among those who are like us – those with whom we feel commonality. They represent a comfortable, easy to engage arena. “Samaria”, on the other hand represents those who are not like us, those with whom we have little in common, and may even be those whom we dislike or consider enemies. And “to the ends of the earth” pretty much caps off the commission to go and be witnesses to everyone in the world. If we view the four domains as a set of concentric circles, “Jerusalem” (and those it represents) would be the inner circle. “Judea” would be the next outer circle, “Samaria” would be further out, still. And “to the ends of the earth” would be represented by all the space outside the three named circles. We discussed ways in which we could visualize and connect with each domain.

Some of us have a very constricted domain circle that consists of only that one inner circle. For us there is nothing beyond those with whom we interact in familiar quarters day after day. And, if we do any evangelizing even with them, it is largely through example and behavior over time – good or bad – and without any intentionality.

How sad that so many who profess to love the Lord completely ignore this call to the larger domains of mission! They make excuses, ignore the need, and selfishly think of their own comfort and convenience more than those whom Christ calls us to love and serve. We need fewer impotent worldly professors of Christian faith and more powerful world-class Christian disciples.