Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Doing mission for mission....

"Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited weren’t worthy. Go therefore to the intersections of the highways, and as many as you may find, invite to the marriage feast.’ Those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together as many as they found, both bad and good. The wedding was filled with guests. -Matt 22:2-14

While I was having dinner tonight at our Tuesday night community dinner, my youngest son, Micah, asked me: "Dad, do you go on the street and just tell people to come in here and serve dinner?" He was looking at the serving counter and noticing that he didn't recognize or know anyone serving. The four women in the picture do not attend our church, I suppose some attend other churches, I know at least one does at our friends church in East Central, and one lady is an Iraqi refugee. They all have asked to come and volunteer on their own.

As I was reflecting on the evening I was struck by the missional nature of serving. Doing mission and inviting others to do mission can become the very act that reaches someone's heart; maybe even the one serving. I'm pretty sure Jesus didn't check to make sure the little boy who gave his two loaves and five fish was a good little Jewish boy. Sharing love, serving, caring, nurturing the life of the community we live within is a good work...one that we can join others in, even if they are not "one of our group".

I think..."The Kingdom of Heaven is like...a...feast." An open one, with a big table and in that feast you will find "good & bad". It's the King's role to determine who is wearing wedding garments, not mine. He is the one who separates people, not me. It's our role to invite the multitudes from the highways and the byways to the feast. It's our role to be inclusive and allow God to do His work with those who we find in and among. I work on preparing a scrumptious feast and work hard at being inclusive, invitational and proactive in going out and compelling them to come eat....God gets the work of determining who stays.

I like that....it makes the whole process more enjoyable, free of agenda, safe ground to just work together, love people, serve and let the Holy Spirit do His work through our embracing atmosphere and the conversations and actions that arise while we serve one another.

Tonight I had the privilege of encouraging some people, sharing truth with others who do not follow Jesus. I made a friend with someone from another faith, I shared food with some neighbors who didn't come to the dinner, saw someone else take food to a the barber, and I met a new neighbor and gave her dinner and an invitation to join us next week.

I did most of this with my youngest son, joining me and watching me and I know that he is learning how to live missionally.

That is good mission.


Daniel said...

Thank you for sharing your insights and thoughts. It has been a joy to be part of a body of believers who are partnering with God and being able to see Him work through everyone.

Andy said...

Right on brother.

Wes said...

Very cool, Eric. I looked at the picture before reading the post and thought "Who are they? Dang, been away too long."
Read the post and it brought a smile to my face.
Awesome work going on there in East Central! Keep it up!

Melissa said...

This example is a good testiment to how we want to live as a community. If we are engaged in an impactful community activity and other believers join in it shows people it is not just a Jacob's Well thing but truly an attempt to reach out to everyone around us regardless of church affiliation or membership. That is how ministry should look :)

Mel said...

"That is good mission." Indeed. :)

FCB said...

Man, this is a good and encouraging post. When you have people volunteering that aren't even from your church you know God is busy. This is Christian testimony at its best to me. People recognize a good work, a work of love. They need not understand everything or maybe anything, to be drawn to goodness. It thrills me to hear about the goodness of God lived out in such practical ways at Jacob's well. I'm sure there were many that came to believe in Christ because there was an issue of goodness that followed Him wherever he went. To see that flowing still is as good as it gets.
Love Dad

Wes said...

Well said, Fred.