the one where we are called

Thursday, March 28, 2013

But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words you have heard from me in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
2 Timothy 1:12-13

In my small group, we are starting a new study about saying yes to God. We talked about whether or not we all believed we have a story. I clearly believe that’s true, but I remember too well a time in my life when I thought my story wasn’t worthy. Wasn’t interesting enough. Wasn’t transformative enough. Wasn’t as good as that other person’s story.

One of the things God’s been teaching me lately is that my story is given to me by Him. He’s given it to me with trust; He’s given it to me to preach. Who am I to devalue or diminish what He’s given me to share?

…He who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son to me, in order that I might preach Him among the Gentiles…
Galatians 1:15

The thing that scares me when I write and shuts me up when I speak in person, the thing that I dance around frequently – it’s that I simply am called to share my story, regardless of how I feel about it.

And so are you.

I hedge because I don’t want the telling of my story to make anyone else feel like their story is less. I know we live a fairly unusual life. ‘Radical’, if you will. I don’t want anyone who hears my story to think that I believe that all people’s lives need to look like ours or that they need to make similar choices in order to truly say ‘yes’ to God or live in radical obedience to Him. This calling to sacrificial living, which I believe is supported over and over again in Scripture, does not look the same for everyone.

Sometimes we get so caught up in what we think is important in our own human view. If you grew up in church, it probably is being ‘called to the ministry’, which nearly always means something that gives you a title in a church or something that causes you to draw your paycheck or financial support from church people. Or we look at people who are world-travellers, working for NPOs in far-off lands, trying to make a difference in poverty-stricken nations, ending slavery around the world. For some of us, it’s going to look like AmeriCorps or military service or foster care or anything that we deem as more noble than other professions and jobs. Radical, sacrificial living, in our heads, never looks like a bank teller or a corporate manager or a salesman or a stay-at-home mom.

The thing that I always want to gloss over when I share my story is that I believe we are all called to radical, sacrificial living. For some of us, that does look like missionary work, NPO work, AmeriCorps, foster care, and all those other things that draw certain people into public advocacy positions. But for most of us, it looks like getting up in the morning and giving your life in radical obedience to God right where you are. Living sacrificially and spending your life in pursuit of something greater than yourself as a insurance adjuster, as a retail clerk, as a stay-at-home mom, as a computer technician.

 

What can we bring to the Lord? What kind of offerings should we give him? Should we bow before God with offerings of yearling calves? Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins?
Micah 6:6-7

In Micah, the people of Israel, living under a true system of physical sacrifice, were asking the same questions we are: What does radical sacrifice and obedience look like? Is it sacrificing not just one, but a thousand rams? Is it not just offering a bit of our best olive oil, but 10,000 rivers of olive oil instead? What about sacrificing our first-born children? Will that be radical enough?

God says to them that ridiculously over-the-top sacrifices are not what He’s after. He’s after the most basic of things.

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

Do what is right.
Love mercy.
Walk humbly with God.

We can do that right where we are.
That’s the radical thing that makes our stories worth sharing.

The everyday faithfulness of a life lived in pursuit of our Savior is a story worth telling. Sometimes our stories seem a bit more dramatic. Sometimes they seem very routine. I believe with all my heart that every single one of us is called to share, regardless of how we view our stories. In the end, it’s not about us at all – our stories are about God. They’re about His goodness and faithfulness, how He brings beauty from ashes and joy from mourning, and sometimes they’re even about how we can’t see the joy and the beauty, but we’re just stuck in the middle of the hard and mundane, extraordinarily painful and completely ordinary. All of it is about Him. That’s something worth sharing.

What about you? Have you struggled with this unworthiness thing when it comes to sharing our stories? What does radical obedience look like in your life? What makes you afraid to share that with others?

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