Like A Skateboard

There was a skateboard that appeared in Mike's office a week or so ago. What I have noticed is that people just want to stand on it. They'll come in. Start talking. See the skateboard. Then they will stand on it. I've found myself doing it many times.

I thought of sitting that skateboard in the lobby on a Sunday before church and seeing how many people would just get on it before the worship gathering. Due to safety concerns, I didn't do it, but I bet kid after kid would come in and just get on the skateboard until their parents told them not to. Some adults would too.   

There is something appealing about a skateboard. You just want to get on it. In a similar vein, we, those who claim to follow Jesus, need to be living in such a way that others will want to join in on what we are doing.

I grew up in a Christian family but gave up following Jesus for a period of time in high school. I didn't like church. I didn't like God, although I would have said that I didn't believe He existed. And I started pursuing the ways of the world while finding lots of trouble. I went to college ready to party. I was roommates with my high school partying buddy. And then, at college, I got into the wrong crowd, a bunch of Christians. One of the people would just go around town and clean the restrooms of businesses for free to show them love. These friends would organize a car wash to clean other students’ cars without any donations being accepted. They would hand out hot chocolates on cold days to students walking to and from class for free. It was strange. These people were crazy.

But instead of just complaining about the world, they were working to make the world better.

In a way, they were like a skateboard that I just found irresistible. They believed in Jesus and worked to bring His will here on earth as it is in heaven. Instead of being a church that was obsessed with having the right appearance; they were a group of people focused on having the right thoughts and actions. They didn't just believe in some teachings to get to heaven. They believed and worked to help heaven break through here to earth, even in the darkest places.

That's the way that we are to be when it comes to following Jesus. Yet that isn't the impression the world gets from us. They don't think of love when they think of Christians; they think of judgmentalism. They don't think of grace; instead, they think of hate. They don't think of people who make the world a better place; they think of people who just resist change.

It's these bad, yet often deserved stereotypes that we have to live with when we claim to be followers of Jesus. Yet we must, like my friends were in college, work to change this if we are going to actually follow Jesus' command to make disciples. 

We may have turned what should be a life-changing relationship into a personal blankie that we snuggle with; one that is all about making us feel good. Instead of "Going", we expect people to come to church rather than love them where they are. Instead of "making disciples", we expect to be spiritually fed without giving back. Instead of "baptizing", we water down the message of the gospel and do not encourage complete life change. Instead of "teaching", we expect a specialist to do that. And in making these mistakes, the world is going to hell around us, literally and figuratively.
Our life together as brothers and sisters in a church should be an example to the world of the way relationships are to be. We can’t change the whole world, but we can be a light in the darkness. We can be the salt of the earth. We do that, not by becoming the world, but by being different in the world in how our relationships with one another are filled with love.

Jesus taught,"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 ESV).

Notice that Jesus didn’t say, they will know you are Christians by your belief statement. Nor did he say that they would know you are a Christian by the church you attend. It’s not something about you individually. People will know we are a Christian because we, fellow disciples of Jesus, have a love for one another that surpasses the love that people have for one another at the bar, at a place of work, at college, at school, or anywhere else. 

Our relationships with one another are to be a shining example to the world of what life in Jesus is supposed to be like. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
What is your reaction to Jesus? Is it to love one another? Is it to take seriously his teaching to go, make disciples, baptize them, and teach them?

We all need to surrender more and more of our lives to Jesus. So do that. Go. Make disciples. Baptize them. And teach them. You, as a follower of Jesus, are uniquely positioned and gifted to do just that. The Holy Spirit is here with you to strengthen and encourage you to do that. You are uniquely positioned in the life you have to be Jesus where you are at. Don't let the life Jesus made you for pass you by any more. We were all made for so much more.