When was the last time you had a spiritual conversation with someone outside the faith? It had been a while for me too. I was mostly consumed by perfecting my Christian "duties" and trying not to sin. If that sounds shallow, it is. And it's not the fullness of living the gospel. I was self absorbed spiritually. I found myself in the hot-tub of Christian subculture. Been there?
Then I took a look at Jesus. Jesus was completely un-self absorbed. He didn't soak in the hot tub of religious subculture. He entered and waded through the mess of people's lives, pain, and sin. He came to seek and save that which was lost. His life was on mission. Crooks, drunks, prostitutes, and the average "Joe six-pack" (sorry, I couldn't help myself) never rolled their eyes at Jesus, shook their heads, and walked out of the room. In front of Jesus these people told off-color jokes, I'm sure. They cussed. They drank too much. But they felt comfortable with Jesus and enjoyed His company. Could this be said of me? Of you?
There was no such thing as busyness or distraction with Jesus. Even when Jesus was worn-out and hungry he never turned inward, moody, or bitter. He was on mission to have conversations to bring people into repentance, belief in the gospel, and joining him in the kingdom movement. This was his DNA. Funny what wears me out is the opposite. It's all the Christian things I do and Christian venues I attend that saps my drive and drains my energy...just like what happens to your body when in the hot tub too long. The Christian subculture easily becomes my life. Then places and opportunities outside of it are what become distractions, obstacles, a fear of potential temptations to sin, and a burden.
But Jesus got into the thick of it. He looked for every possible way to have spiritual conversations. He picked up on vines, fig trees, bread, fish, religion, work, wine, parties, tragedy, death, sickness, coins, sheep, birds, flowers, weeds, spices, family, friendship, water, light, wind, fire, evil, children, spirituality, sex, war, taxes, and so forth. Jesus watched for opportunities, created opportunities, and embraced opportunities to have spiritual conversations. He made some people think, some he gave hope, some he told to repent, some he called them to sacrifice, some he condemned for their self-righteousness. Everything was spiritual to Jesus. Conversations couldn't help but follow.
Jesus knew nothing of a 4 week program to learn how to have a spiritual conversation. He taught and led his disciples in the context of everyday life. Ministry wasn't relegated to Sundays.. It was a way of life. It was His DNA. Spiritual conversations isn't something you do once a week on Tuesday nights. Nor is it yelling at people leaving the Katy Perry concert. Jesus didn't leave a gospel tract on water wells after he took a sip. He engaged. He ministered. He loved. He conversed. And he looked for any open door, indeed even pushed the door open himself at times, to take the conversation into the kingdom realm.
Likewise, Jesus didn't do what many do. He didn't pull out his "compassion, love, and evangelism" game card and polish it off on a mission trip to Samaria or the inner city. And He didn't term ministry as only serving the poor, downcast, and homeless. Although this was of monumental importance, it was not the "end all, be all" of His life. Jesus' life was on mission to people deep in sin, the average wage-earner, and His followers. Not just the poor. The everyday is where and the every person is whom Jesus impacted powerfully too.
This is the journey I'm on right now. Getting out of the hot tub and living everyday life as a mission and ministry. It's watching for opportunities, creating opportunities, and embracing opportunities for spiritual conversations as a way of life so that people might come from outside faith in Jesus and into faith in Jesus. It's a mission to have spiritual conversations with the Baristas at the coffee shop, the neighbors across the street, the co-worker on the other side of the cubicle, the dude on the bar stool, the riders at the Harley gathering.
Thoughts? I hope you'll check back soon. Thanks for reading.