So a little about me…I work in a big building in a field (sorry that’s so vague) in the country. And in that big building I am a senior financial analyst. Kinda random, I know. But, like I said before, God is good at throwing us curve balls and oddities in life. Well, I strongly believe that coffee is one of the greatest gifts God ever blessed the earth with. Enter the Starbucks down the street. Literally, as I take the country road into town (a small town btw), one of the first buildings is…you guessed it, a Starbucks. Guess where I go for a lunch coffee every single day? Starbucks 🙂
I am there 5 out of 7 days of the week. I am on a first name basis with most of the baristas, haha, I know right? They all know my drink, pour over coffee, “Which region do you want today Joel? Grande or tall?” My goal while I’m there: breathe in a cup of coffee and geek out in either my Hebrew or Koine Greek book
Today, in all its glory. Ethiopian coffee + Greek vocab = Geeky Smiles
All that background to bring yesterday into focus. I’m chatting with one of the baristas, Carrie, while my coffee is brewing and we end up getting kinda deep and start talking about adoption, how difficult it is to adopt, the YUGE (sorry Trump) supply of kids without families, both domestically and internationally, and the horrors of sex trafficking. And, the best part, I even got to share in the conversation God’s heart for children and how antithetical God’s love is versus our current post-modern culture.
I watched this really good vid from Church at the Cross (thx to one of our fellow bloggers for posting it on WP) and this guy JR Vassar is preaching and talking about us as believers struggling to engage the people we encounter in our daily lives for the Gospel. And it’s true, we do. Maybe we are shy. I know I can be shy at times, and it’s so much easier connecting on here sometimes than face to face. Maybe we are selfish. Maybe we don’t want to take the time to encounter somebody else. Maybe we are insecure and don’t feel ready or worthy or knowledgeable or beautiful or strong enough.
But you are not lacking in those things. Rather you are being redeemed for glory, for beauty, for strength, for joy and for grace. And most of all, for love and to be loved.
I love this quote from CS Lewis out of The Weight of Glory concerning our redemption as children of God:
So two questions came to mind:
- How can we expect to change the world if we don’t engage others in love and friendship?
- How can we expect to fulfill Jesus’ prayer to the Father for us as believers to be closely connected if we don’t share ourselves with each other?
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed that his believers would be one, just as he and the Father are one. WOW. Just stop for a moment and imagine the depth and intimacy and love the Son and the Father must have together. And now, place that on your relationships. That is the kind of relational life Jesus desires for you to have.
John 17:20-21, 23: I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…that they may be brought to complete unity.
Can we do that? Yes, absolutely! Will we get it right on the first try? I don’t know, maybe? But if we fail the first time, that’s ok too! God’s grace is abundant and overflowing through Jesus. There will be challenges. Oneness can never happen without repeated vulnerability and trust. That takes time. It also requires we work through past hurts on our hearts – being vulnerable with someone is hard. Many still struggle with that concept even with God. Many have been deeply hurt by people in their past (or current situations). But, it’s what we were created for. And we should never let the dark world overshadow the loving people we are being made into. Also, a cautionary note: God prays for oneness for his people. He never asked us to be one with the world. Protect your heart, it’s the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). There are boundaries with people in the world just as there are boundaries with those in the Bride, but the goal we are striving toward is complete oneness and love with each other in Christ Jesus.
So three final questions just to ponder…
- Where can you engage with those you encounter in your daily life for the Gospel and for love?
- Where can you really start to become one with those God has placed in relationship with you who are brothers and sisters in Christ? And finally,
- What conversations do you need to start with God for him to begin work on your heart to make you ready to be one with others in the family of God, as well as being willing and ready to share the Gospel with those you encounter in your daily life?
Hope you have a wonderful afternoon and I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and feedback!