How Far Will You Go?

Disciple-Making-SandWhen people commit to reaching others in remote places of the world, they go through extensive training to to learn the language and culture. That makes sense. Otherwise, how are they actually going to impact others’ lives?

Jesus said, “You will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We all reach people somewhere, whether it’s close or far away, friends or enemies. We’re to “go, therefore, and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). Even people who don’t believe Jesus’ words make disciples…just not the way He intended. We all influence others.

How much effort are we willing to give? It makes sense for foreign missionaries to learn the languages of the people they reach. Shouldn’t the same be true for wherever and whomever you serve and reach? If you’re truly committed to people, shouldn’t you learn their language and culture?

Instead, we often don’t want to be bothered. Keeping things comfortable for ourselves is so much easier than investing in other people’s lives, especially if they’re not like us. We can just give money to the person who is really passionate and well-trained for reaching “those people,” right? I mean, if someone is living in this society, in my community, and even comes to my church, he or she is pretty much like me, right? Why would I need to listen, grow, or change in order to impact his or her life?

Discipleship requires action and effort: “Go”!

“Go” isn’t just about location. It’s about setting yourself aside, as well as your expectations for God to just bring people across your path. He’ll certainly do that, too, but you have to pay attention to the path you’re on. You have to follow Him, and I can say with certainty that He will put you on some paths that are inconvenient and uncomfortable at times.

I don’t know what language you need to learn today, but I know God wants to teach you something you didn’t know. It might be right in front of you. Open your mind and heart today.

Always be ready to “Go”!

Reach Out

helpYou don’t have to weather the storm by yourself. Reach out to someone and let her know you’re struggling. You don’t have to be going through a major crisis to need support. Many times, the day-to-day details can wear on you.

I had one of those days recently. I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong, but I just felt weary. I got frustrated and discouraged easily. I didn’t have much patience or motivation. I didn’t want to be around anyone, because…well, why make someone else’s day miserable, too? I cried out to God, and He reminded me I’m not alone.

Not only is He with me at all times, but I have really great friends who care about me no matter what. They know the best and worst of me. I have dozens more that would pray for me at a moment’s notice, but there’s something about revealing your weaknesses to someone who already knows them without having to go into details. Someone you meet with on a regular basis to do life with…face to face so that they know your expressions, hesitations, and idiosyncrasies. Someone who doesn’t let you off the hook easily when you’re starting to veer off the straight and narrow path. Someone who gets as excited as you do when something great happens, almost as if it’s actually happening to her personally.

When you do life with someone on a regular basis, you do a lot of sharing along the way, so that when the tough times come, she understands without needing a long explanation. And that’s a good thing, because if we’re honest, sometimes we don’t really have the explanation in the middle of the struggle. If we try to take the pulse of what’s going on, we can’t slow down enough for an accurate read, so we just spin and process and overthink until we’re making matters worse instead of better.

But shutting our mouths to avoid the explanation and trying to deal with it ourselves isn’t smart either, because we just try to explain it to ourselves instead. That rarely works out well. If you’re angry, you’ll often end up more angry. If you’re upset, you’ll often end up more upset. I’m not talking about the situations that just bump up against you, and you briefly struggle but keep moving through. I’m talking about those more rare moments when there’s a traffic jam of emotions and situations, then one small tap creates a chain reaction of collisions, resulting in a tangled mess that brings everything to a standstill.

I don’t know what you’re going through today, but I know God has placed someone alongside you to walk with you. She’s not there to solve all your problems. She’s not there to unconditionally support everything you do with no accountability. She’s there to do life with you…the triumphs and the messes. Maybe you’re not sure who that person is. Maybe you aren’t really struggling right now anyway. Fantastic! It’s a great time to look around and invest in someone. Make a coffee date. Begin to share life. It won’t happen overnight. It might not actually be the person you want or expect it to be, and you will probably have to go outside your comfort zone.

Investing in friendships is totally worth the time and effort. I know.

A man with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)