The Untaming

Learning to build missional community in secular France

Are you not entertained?

3 Comments

“Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?”

This is challenging to the core.  Am I…

  • Sweating in the pit … or swearing from the sidelines?
  • Living a wild adventure … or being mildly amused?
  • Walking the path … or sitting it out?
  • Fighting with passion … or comfortably numb?

Surely abundant life is about rolling up our sleeves. But how avoiding it seems attractive at times…

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3 thoughts on “Are you not entertained?

  1. Question : What motivates you to step into the arena?
    Is it for God’s sake, for others, or for yourself?

    Our net actions are aligned with our core motivations and so looking at my actions I’m probably doing discipleship for myself. And as long as my motivation for being a Christian is for myself, then it will be impossible for me to step into the arena (and die to myself… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6z38LmxW4g)
    Surely it is one of the weaknesses of our branch of Christianity that we are most concerned that “I am saved” and “Jesus loves me” and there isn’t much space for others in those two statements.

    I suspect Jesus told us to serve the needy as that is actually easier to do than just “loving God” in our thought lives and in an abstract way. If we serve the needy then one day we might truly love them, and so also love Him.

    So I conclude that what I need most is a heart for the needy and that’s ‘just’ a matter of choosing to put others before myself. God help me! Once we are regularly denying ourselves for the sake of others, then we may have the motivation necessary to roll up our sleves and get in the ring.

    Some concrete ideas :
    – Giving up things that we think we have a right to (seat on the RER, place in a queue,…)
    – Giving to the poor beyond what we can comfortably afford, or at least giving more than we save for our future.
    – And how we spend our time… but I think that one is too complicated and personal to make general suggestions. I just know how hard it is for me to give up some ‘me’ time for others.
    – Always start our prayer times with prayers for others.

  2. Good points and nice concrete ideas.

    But Jesus didn’t quite/just say ‘serve the needy’ did He? He did of course say “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matt 25:34-36)

    Moreover, He did say that the most important commandment “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Mark 12:29-31).

    Being a blessing, sharing our lives, connecting with God: these are exactly the practices that get us to realise that we need to get caught up in God’s mission to reconcile the world to Himself and to each other, aren’t they?

    P.S. As for prayer times… I suggest the Lord’s prayer as a helpful model. God’s character first, then His kingdom, then His provision….

    • >But Jesus didn’t quite/just say ‘serve the needy’ did He?
      No… but my post started life as an SMS to you but got a bit long :->

      >Moreover, He did say that the most important commandment “is…
      Yes, but… how hard it is to love the Lord given our sinful nature! We might declare with our lips, but “love must be sincere” (Rom 12:9) and I’m afraid that our lives often show our love for God to be insincere. If we serve others, then not only will our hearts be changed but, as you quoted, the Lord will say “Come, you who are blessed by my Father…”.

      >… we need to get caught up in God’s mission …
      Yes, but my point is what is our motivation for wanting to be caught up? If we find it hard to take the steps, maybe it’s because our faith is too focused on ourselves, our own discipleship, ministry and future?
      Of course we are not dealing with absolutes – we do love God and others to some degree, but we will find the steps very difficult if they are too big for our level of faith.

      When “avoiding [abundant life] seems attractive”, then we need to change our everyday thinking through our everyday doing, at a level which our faith allows.

      John Ortburg ( in A Life Worth Living) gives the useful metaphor of playing the piano. Great acts of hospitality and service are like playing a beautiful piece of music. But you can’t expect to just get up on stage and play the piece on your first go. You start by learning the scales.

      I recognise that your Gospel community initiative is aimed at doing exactly these things. I hope my comments are useful encouragement and not discouragement.

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