We are to be Jesus’ hands and feet. That takes a different tone on Good Friday.
Your faith in Jesus was made real to you by others. The only way that the people in your neighborhood are going to have a faith made real in their life is because you choose or someone else chooses to be that other to them. We need to be that person in their life who is proclaiming a different way to live. We must surrender ourselves and become that other to others that someone once was to you. We must become Jesus’ hands and feet.
Just over a month ago, I was in Liberia on a short-term mission trip. Our neighborhoods are not going to be the recipient of missionaries. When was the last time you saw a church started in your neighborhood by missionaries? When was the last time you saw a missionary meeting the needs of your neighbors and sharing the Gospel? Probably never.
Unless we realize that we are missionaries.
The reason that God has put us where we are is to be the missionaries to our neighbors, our co-workers, and our friends. The reason God has placed our churches where they are is to further His Kingdom in our neighborhoods. We are to be Jesus’ hands and feet right where we are.
This short clip illustrates it well:
When we send a missionary overseas, we expect them to share the gospel. But we also expect them to live sacrificially and meet the needs of their neighborhood. Over there, among the “lost,” we expect them to live like the guy who jumped in front of the oncoming Subway train to save a stranger. To be Jesus' hands and feet, we must be willing to die.
Our neighbors, our worklplaces, our families, and our churches can be better. They have to be better. But it must start with us. We are to be Jesus’ hands and feet bringing His will into reality.
Our churches are filled with people who live as if making more disciples can't happen. Our churches have some people who won’t allow changes to facilitate that happening. Don’t be one of those people. Actually, ignore those people. The mission that Jesus has placed us on. The mission of being the lifeline to our community is way too important to get it cluttered with doing church rather than being church.
Unfortunately, at times…
…we care more about buildings than we do making disciples.
…we care more about music than we do about living a life of worship.
…we care more about programs than we do reaching out.
…we care more about our own selfish needs than we do about living the calling that God has placed on us.
…we care more about receiving blessings from God than we do about about being His hands and feet.
And because of those bad priorities, we get bad results. In the town I minister in, less than 20% of the people went to church on March 25. That is compared to a national average of 35%. Maybe your neighborhood is doing better than that, but none of our neighborhoods are exactly where God wants them to be. They can always use more people moving and acting like Jesus' feet and hands.
If we actually believe that our neighborhood could be what God intended it to be and began working toward it, that which many view as impossible would become reality. It’s not going to come easily; it’s going to take us being His hands and feet, going where others say those hands and feet shouldn't go.
Dr. Dionysius Lardner, who was a prominent scientist and economist in the early 1800s, is famous for being wrong. He couldn't see the new ordinary. Once he argued, “Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.” Today, people will regularly travel at 268 mph on the Shanghai Maglev Train. There are no known reports of passengers dying of asphyxia. At that speed, if a similar high-speed rail were in place here, we would be able to get to Chicago from Ft. Wayne in around thirty-six minutes. Or for you Yankee fans, from Ft. Wayne to New York in two hours and twenty-four minutes. 268 mph is a speed that is way beyond what Dr. Lardner thought would kill humans is now routinely in use every day in China. Things thought impossible can become reality.
Wilbur Wright, in a speech to the Aero Club in France on November 5, 1908, said, “I confess that in 1901, I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years.” Two years later, the two Wright brothers were flying their first airplane at Kitty Hawk. The impossible became reality.
All around us, what was once thought impossible is reality.
Unfortunately, spiritually speaking, the impossible, when it comes to church, has not become reality in our neighborhoods. Paul wrote, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13 ESV). Yet we languish as if there is no way we can live a selfless life following Jesus here on earth. We subsist, enslaved to the same old sins that others have overcome. We spiritually endure life without experiencing the power of God.
Let’s stop waddling. Let’s start flying. It’s amazing what these hands and feet can do.
This is part of a series that I wrote showing the mission trip I took to Liberia.
I divided the subjects into individual pages, for ease of use.
Here are a few articles that I wrote upon my return: