More than once, the Lord has had to convict me to MOVE and GO. Convict me to move out of my comfort zone. Convict me that Jesus really doesn’t care about MY comfort. It’s been in these convictions, my lens has shifted, my perspective changed and my life, as I knew it, would not, could not ever be the same.
Imagine if you will, a Saturday afternoon several years ago where the weather was making what seemed to be a venture into autumn. The boys were engaged in several college football games and the afternoon was ours to do some “fall” shopping. As the girls and I turned into the plaza, chatting away at what fall accessory was a “must have,” I spotted a man.
It seemed odd to see a man holding a sign on the corner of this particular plaza. This wasn’t the typical “Cash for Gold” sign, no, he was holding an “Out of Work, Need Money” sign. I thought for a moment how sad, whispered a prayer and turned the corner only to reveal that I recognized the man holding the sign.
That man holding the sign was the father of a boy on my son’s football team.
I’ve never “known” the person holding the sign. Regardless of the circumstances that brought him to that place, it’s safe to say that it’s not an ideal way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Now, I’ve been in church ALL my life. I’ve heard many, many, many sermons. I’ve heard good sermons, I’ve heard poor sermons. I’ve heard brilliant speakers and I’ve heard speakers who, if we’re honest, should stick to writing. I’ve heard sermons cross denominationally and non-denominationally. It’s safe to say, I’ve heard the message.
But had I really heard the message? Or have I heard a momentary message that hit me in the backside on my way out the church door?
This could get convicting and offensive. The gospel is intended to do that.
“Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.”
Imagine it just for a moment. Jesus has just changed up what had been going on for centuries and the disciples, who look strikingly similar to us, begin a bicker session over who Jesus loves most. I’d like to think that only my children do that sort of thing, but again, I’m being honest. Convicted.
My perspective shifted that afternoon.
I knew the man holding the sign. I could easily argue that I was doing enough, heck, I’ve got someone living in my basement and I gave a woman in need my extra cash the other day. I had lived the momentary message and for a brief moment I felt as if that were enough. I even had an excuse in my back pocket.
Listen in to the conversation I had with myself:
“I couldn’t possibly approach this man, he’d be so embarrassed that someone recognized him.”
That’s when the voice in my head, that I know CLEARLY to be the Holy Spirit, spoke up. (I know it’s the Holy Spirit because I would have been content in the excuse and vowed to talk to my husband about it later and moved on. This wasn’t my voice, I assure you.)
The voice convicted, “Really?? He’s going to be embarrassed to see YOU? He’s standing on the street corner in broad daylight on a Saturday! He’s ALREADY embarrassed!”
Funny how the Holy Spirit can take on exactly the tone you need at the time.
I needed a tone.
I was living the momentary message.
I was a disciple in the room. I was more concerned with what I wanted to be consumed with than with what Jesus was really speaking. I was missing the point, just like the disciples in the room that night.
The momentary message is NOT what Jesus died for. He didn’t die for a sermon. He didn’t die so we could feel good about ourselves. He died so we could become what He was. The bickering is tired, the excuses worn out and Jesus’ response today would be the same as it was 2,000 years ago in the Upper Room;
“Are you guys KIDDING me?? I didn’t come to BE served, I came TO SERVE. I’m leaving you with all you need. Now get out there and DISCIPLE others by serving, teaching and leading them into Christ-likeness. Be aware, there is a very real enemy who will try and distract in ways you can’t even imagine, which is why I’m leaving you with part of me.”
(my interpretation based on Luke 22:24-17 & Matthew 28 & Acts 2)
And we think that’s changed? Perhaps it’s one too many momentary messages.
I encourage you to look around. Look around you. What would happen if you took additional steps this week to LIVE OUT the message? What would happen if we took the words of Jesus literally to LOVE our NEIGHBOR. What would happen if we quit simply LISTENING to the messages that inundate us, but actually HEARD them and allowed our convicted hearts to MOVE. Dare I say that amidst the rhetoric and disturbing language of the day, we are CALLED to live, love, move, and BE a reflection of Jesus. Not just when we want to. Not just when it’s convenient. Not just when it’s comfortable and fits into our demanding schedules.
Radical living for Jesus takes time. This week, find one space – one space that you’re being called to lapse out of your momentary message coma and move. ONE space leads to the next space and the next thing you know, we’re moving and loving in more radical ways; Jesus ways.
“But I am among you as the one who serves.” (Luke 22:27)
The momentary message isn’t going to change the world.
The momentary message looks great on Sunday morning.
The impact our lives may have on the world may be momentary, the message of Jesus is anything but momentary.