In Ephesians Paul says “Make the most (lit. buy up) of every opportunity”. The time is now! If I were the spiritual equivalent of a wall street executive, I’d be shouting buy buy buy up all of the opportunities! Or sell, sell, sell everything you have to win more people! It cost Jesus everything. It cost Paul. It cost Oscar Schindler.
At the end of Schindler’s List, he’s weeping as his eyes search frantically around for something that could have been used to save just one more soul. He pulls on his coat sleeves, “These cuff links…one more!” This car…five, maybe ten more!”. He collapses in sobs.
Everybody has something. Even nobodies. Oscar Schindler was a nobody. He seized the opportunity at the onset of WW2 to become a munitions manufacturer. He made his fortune and eventually became a man on a mission to save as many as he could. He broke his precious alabaster jar of a cushy life and did what he could. Make no mistake; mission is going to cost you. Mission will suck your time, money, energy, privacy, preferences, and your gifts.
As David Platt points out that the kingdom needs more Christians who aren’t asking ‘what can I afford?’, but “what’s it going to take?’
Platt challenges“We look back on slave owning church goers of 150 years ago and ask “how could they have treated their fellow human beings that way? I wonder if followers of Christ 150 years from now will look back at Christians in America today and ask,
“how could they live in such big houses? How could they drive such nice cars and wear such nice clothes? How could they live in such affluence while thousands of children were dying because they didn’t have food and water? How could they go on with their lives as though the billions of poor didn’t even exist?”_
“why not begin selling and giving away luxuries for the sake of the poor outside our gates? Why not begin operating under the idea that God has given us excess, not so that we could have more, but so that we could give more. Now we’re getting radical. Or maybe we’re getting biblical. Let’s take things a step further. What if we actually set a cap on our lifestyles? What if we got to the point where we could draw a line, saying, “this is enough and I am giving away everything I have or earn above this line?”
This is what Wesley did. He identified a modest level of expenses that he was going to live on every year. The first year his income surpassed that level by a small amount, and he gave that excess away. The next year his income increased but he kept his standard of living the same, so he had more to give away. This continued year after year. At one point, Wesley was making the equivalent of 160,000 a year in today’s terms, but he was living as if he were making 20,000 a year. As a result, he had the equivalent of more than 140,000 to give away that year. Consider what could happen. What if you and I decided that having a 50,000 dollar salary doesn’t necessitate living a $50,000 lifestyle?
Are you ready to do something about it? Somebody has to. Church planting is a way of bringing the community of God into a community of darkness. Patrick Hubbard of Living Bread ministries specifically targets areas known for extreme poverty and sex trafficking and plants a church there. Why? Because a community aided by the church whose express purpose is to infiltrate the darkest areas, see souls saved, supported, and enabled to live a different life, will transform the sex trafficking industry from the source. It’s preventative.
Years ago, rockers Simple Plan charged the youth generation to stop in their tracks and take a look at this messed up world with a track titled “Crazy”. They ask what’s wrong with society when people are driving big SUVs while kids are dying in the streets. He states that nobody cares and just thinks life is unfair, as if that gives them permission to shrug their shoulders, and roll on like the Levite and Pharisee in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The chorus asks:
Is everybody going crazy? Is anybody gonna save me?
As I hear those lyrics, I’m haunted by the truth that pierces like a sword and twists like a knife. “No one cares”. I’d like to argue with them. I want to tell them that there are a whole host of Christians whose hearts are breaking with the compassion that pumped through the veins of Jesus. I’d like to shout that there is a generation of youth burning with intolerance towards the apathy of the generations that have gone before them. But I’m not so sure…our mission was to target the needy, and instead, we target the rich.
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.