I love this…”radical discipleship is NOT adventure tourism”

IStock_000000885919XSmall I pour over the internet needlessly…I do it for one reason…er, two!  One is my curiosity…the other is what happened today.  I was working away on all sorts of things and quickly checked my google reader.  In one of the numerous blogs I subscribe to was an article referencing the POWER of daily living for the person who follows Jesus.  This is simply awesome AND true!  So much of the time we downplay the power of what God can do in an ordinary life, during an ordinary day and in moments that are simply, well, ordinary.  We look for the BIG headlines…are then we baptize them as significant while demeaning ourselves in the midst of the ordinariness of life.  This "portion" of an article out of Relevant Magazine nails it…enough said, take a peek yourself:

Romanticized Discipleship, from "We need boring Christians"

“What are you doing this summer after classes?” a college student asks his friend late in the spring semester.

“Well, I’m working with an electrician.”

“Oh, OK.”

“What about you?  What are your summer plans?”

“I’m actually gonna be living in an orphanage in Africa, loving on those kids and doing some community development stuff.”

“Oh …”
    
In conversations like this, it is likely that the 20-year-old working with the electrician will feel spiritually inferior to the 20-year-old who has plane tickets in hand for Kenya. There is also the tendency for the guy with the ticket to feel as though he is a bit more sincere in his devotion to Jesus.

Believe me, I do not wish to discourage young people from boarding flights to Africa. But I also do not wish to disparage electrical work as spiritually insignificant. 

Scripture calls us into radical service—but that does not allow others to eviscerate tedious, less “spiritually” glamorous tasks of their meaning in God’s Kingdom. Scripture also calls us to embrace the mundane and ordinary as holy and beautiful: “… aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” (1 Thessalonians 4:11).  

Many of us want to do something awesome, something epic. We tend to think that the more normal, the less “spiritual.” So it is quite possible that our aspirations to be radical stem from dangerous ambitions to perform biography-worthy feats of global glory.  

But radical discipleship is not adventure tourism.  

Following Jesus is not to be romanticized through impressive Facebook status updates or photos of exotic places on our blog. Discipleship is often ugly, messy and painful. Faithful service will regularly lead us into dull labors and bewildering struggles that would make unexciting press. To romanticize social justice or cross-cultural evangelism is to promote an idealism that will be inevitably vaporized on the field, inadvertently leading to burnout and cynicism.

The first person to be filled with the Holy Spirit for a task in the Bible was not commissioned to lead a battle or to prophesy over Israel. Bezalel (ever heard of him?) was filled with the Spirit to build stuff. To make art. To carve, mold and weave. He was the guy God commissioned to build the tabernacle and its accoutrements (Exodus 31.1-5). 

Spirit-anointing does not always propel us into radical action. Instead we may find ourselves entrusted with tedious, meticulous handiwork that feels … well, boring…“What ever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). Remember how Jesus calls us to faithfulness in the small things (Matthew 25:14-30).  

Aching for yonder shores and longingly scanning the distant horizon may well be God’s call on our lives. But it also may be our impatience with the monotonous minutiae of the daily grind. Escapism is not fulfilling the great commission.  

Regardless of our location, abroad or at home, all ministry is inescapably local. Every worker in a global context must embrace the monotonous minutiae of a new daily grind after the plane lands—figuring out the postal service, dealing with the cell phone company, conjugating verbs in the slow and tedious study of the language. If we cannot be faithful to do our statistics homework or collaborate with our coworkers, then we may lack the strength of character required for dealing with the meticulous annoyances of a more radical life beyond the romanticized horizon.

 

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