30 Dec Christmastide – Sharing the Good News of Christmas
Today’s devotional features a guest post by Meredith King
Have you ever reached the end of a non-stop day only to look back, shaking your head and wondering, “What in the world did I do today?” Those days are not my favorite. Please don’t misunderstand: I welcome the occasional unproductive, go-with-the-flow kind of day, but I do not want my life to be characterized by those. I bet you don’t either. Have you asked yourself why we aren’t okay settling into an indefinite routine of leisure and naps? Sure, we know laziness isn’t healthy or good for anyone. Yes, we are reasonably responsible adults who need to take care of adult-type-things; we are fully aware people count on us and need things from us. If that wasn’t enough, our productivity culture has taught us to make every minute count.
I think there’s more to the story of why we want our lives to count. In fact, I think there’s a much deeper, simpler truth: God created us to do stuff.
Friend, we aren’t just buying time until heaven; we have purpose here. We aren’t just living our story, we are part of God’s story.
God is still writing His redemption story. Yes, Jesus came as our Savior, but that wasn’t the end. Since Christ’s coming, everything – and everyone – is moving toward His return, toward sin’s final end, and our final and complete rescue. It’s happening right now as we live and breathe and work and eat, and we are invited to participate.
After His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus extended a world-changing mandate:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19-20
I’ve met a lot of friends, young and old, suffocating under the pressure of identifying their “calling.” It’s as if we’ve made the idea of “calling” mystical and complicated when it’s actually right there in the Gospels. In fact, my favorite analogy comes from Jesus in John 15, where He explains we have been chosen and appointed to bear an abundance of fruit – not just any fruit – specifically fruit that lasts, fruit that never spoils or decays. What kind of fruit doesn’t spoil or decay? The fruit of the Gospel in and through people.
A major pro in our current culture is the popularity of “giving back,” but the temptation is to to develop a project mentality where we sprinkle a few “good things” here and there. Jesus didn’t just set the bar higher, He created a whole new standard. The old way had a lot to do with stacking up good deeds. His new way – the best, most life-giving way – has a lot to do with sharing the Gospel through sharing your LIFE.
Making disciples is simply teaching people to walk with Jesus as you continue to walk with Jesus. Many of us have a list of reasons making disciples isn’t for us:
• We don’t have time. Take a deep breath and relax! Discipleship is about pulling others into our lives as we live them. Try connecting over lunch (we all have to eat) or invite someone to your child’s soccer game, and use those points of connection for intentional conversation.
• We feel unqualified. What exactly would make you feel qualified? If we were waiting to be perfect, no one would ever be discipled! Your life is like a treasure chest, full of wins and losses, successes and failures. Burying it doesn’t do anyone any good. We assume everyone wants to hear from the expert, but in reality, they are most interested in stories from the trenches.
• We don’t know who to disciple. There’s not a science behind picking someone to invest in, so don’t fall prey to the whole “paralysis of analysis” bit. Lead a small group at your church, take a younger co-worker under your wing, mentor at-risk youth. Or, just take a look behind you. Find someone currently navigating the last few stages of life you just completed and offer encouragement, pray for them, and have them over for dinner.
As we prepare for a new year and the start of a new decade, you’ll likely be looking for a few things to cut to simply for your life, and some things to add in order to become more of who you were created to be. You may want to cut some Netflix or extracurriculars or some habits that aren’t helpful, but don’t cut the privilege of sharing who Jesus is and how He has transformed you. As you enter 2020, sharing the Gospel through sharing your life is the most worthy investment you could make. Want to make your year count? This is it. Protect this. Cultivate this.