Open for Mission?

By January 31, 2017Every Member Mission

Mission is not first and foremost about invading space, but creating it. Mission is openness. Open minds to learn from one another, open arms to welcome one another, open hearts to pray for our enemies, open hands to share with one another, and open mouths singing songs and telling stories of his grace. Here’s the way Jesus put it at a Bible College president’s dinner party:

“The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.” – Luke 14:12-14, The Message

Here is Dallas Willard commenting on this rich and haunting text.

“We are not, then, disobeying him if we have our mother or aunt and uncle or even some financially comfortable neighbor over for dinner. Everything depends on what is in our heart. [Jesus] simply uses the particular occasion to correct the prevailing practice of neglecting those in real need while we feast with the full who will reciprocate by doing something for us.

He is, on the other hand, most certainly telling us to provide for more than our little inner circle of mutual appreciation, and thus to place ourselves in the larger context of heaven’s rule where we have a different kind of mind and heart regardless of who we do or do not have over for dinner.” – Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy

How tragic for us if our comGroups and homes are nothing more than “little inner circles of mutual appreciation” rather than places of “heavens rule” where we risk opening our minds and hearts to God’s work by opening our homes and arms to outsiders. Isn’t this what Jesus did for us? He opened his arms wide on the cross, creating plenty of space for us outsiders in his kingdom. Let us heed his promise and his warning:

“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.” – Jesus of Nazareth

Are we full or are we open? Are we feasting with only the full or is there space left for the hungry? Step onto the mission field this week by simply making room. It may just be Jesus himself who shows up for dinner.

Dane Olney

Author Dane Olney

Dane Olney is joyfully married to his high school sweetheart Brittany and they have a son named Levi. He is the Discipleship Pastor of VCC and is pursuing an MDiv in Christian Ethics from Fuller Theological Seminary.

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