Sunday, June 30, 2013

Kingdom Building: Little Things and Missional Living

Zombieland's "Rule 32"
The Little Things
Eat. Work.  Sleep. Family. Friends. Repeat. For most of us, life is unrelentingly repetitive. 
With this repetition, life can become mundane. Boring, even. We long for those exciting moments that shape our lives: graduations, wedding days, the birth of a child. Life, however, is not made of big moments. Life is made of little things. 

Relationships and friendships alike do not consist of huge, exhilarating moments. Though for lovers or newly weds, every moment can be an exhilaration. Instead, they are built by moments of constant companionship. Hanging out, meals, and devoting time to each other are small things. Yet, these are the building blocks of our friendships and romances. They are the pieces that form the relationship whole.  In our lives, then, the little things actually become the big things. They are the  significant things. 


The little things of our lives found in the daily grind of life should not be diminished. Slowing down and soaking in our existence can bring rewarding perspective. The company of a friend, the conversation with a family member or the kiss of a lover are little things. The taste of chile rellenos smothered in red chile, or a steaming, hot cup of New Mexico Pinon Coffee are little things. The warmth of the sun, the refreshing cool of a river or amazement at stunning scenery are little things.  And yet, it is in these little things we find great enjoyment. 


The Bible acknowledges and encourages this life enjoyment. Our work and play, our love and laughter, our friendships and romances are gifts given by God for our enjoyment.


"I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil-this is God's gift to man."~Ecclesiastes 3:12-13
This was the conclusion from the Solomon's unparalleled wisdom. One theme of his greatest work, Ecclesiastes, is this very truth. The little things in life bring rewarding enjoyment from the generous hand of God.

Missional Living
Christians have been commissioned by the King, Jesus to build His Kingdom:
 
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 28:18-20. 
The great mission in Christ's Kingdom, this Great Commission, is for Christians to make disciples. That's why we send missionaries to the far ends of the earth.  That's why we devote so much money and time and prayer to Bible translation and Gospel giving in foreign lands. It's why Christians, since Stephen's stoning , have been beaten and butchered; maligned and martyred.

This Kingdom building, disciple making work, should not be limited to those who are sent. Every Christian has been commissioned to make disciples.Christian mission is not an event for others. Christian mission is the commissioned  lifestyle of every believer. We should be living a missional life. All of life must be lived as mission.  We do not need to go to Europe to practice to do our mission. We build disciples at work. We build disciples on our streets. We build disciples in our homes, around our tables. How then, does a missional life work with a small things focused life? We practice our mission, disciple making, in the mundane, small things of our lives. Tim Chester and Steve Timmis have written some helpful words in this arena:

"Many of our approaches to evangelism still assume a Christendom mentality. We expect people to come when we ring the church bell or put on a good service, but the majority of the population are disconnected from the church. Changing what we do in church will not reach them. We need to meet them in the context of everyday life." (Everyday Church: Gospel Communities on Mission, p. 10).
"We need non-full-time leaders who can model whole-life, gospel-centered, missional-living. It means thinking of our workplaces, homes, and neighborhoods as the location of mission. We need to plan and pray for gospel relationships. This means creating church cultures in which we see normal, celebrating day-to-day gospel living in the secular world and discussions of how we can use our daily routines for the gospel." (Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community, p. 37).
Sadie's Combination Plate
This Gospel intentionality is the key to making the small things huge, Kingdom building stones. Discipleship is not limited to sharing God's Word with each other. Discipleship is not a six week program with your pastor. Discipleship is the investment of your life in the life of another. Missional living sees the small things of life as the significant things of disciple making. Drinking coffee together is discipleship. Texting each other is discipleship. Watching a movie together is discipleship. Sharing a warm meal is discipleship. Simply devoting time to another person is discipleship. The small things of life are tools for building the eternal Kingdom of God. It was our Lord Jesus, after all, who spent three years of time with His chosen twelve disciples. They ate together, and worshiped together,  and laughed together. They lived life together as community. 

Building the Kingdom of God through making disciples is our mission. Like life, it's not made of the spectacular. Disciples are made through life sharing. Disciples are made in the little things of life. What, then, are we to do? How do we fulfill our commission?  Give and live the Gospel.  Enjoy your life and share its little gifts with another, making the mundane magnificent. In doing so, the King will conquer and build His Kingdom.