The gift of memory by God is a wonderful thing. Imagine not being able to remember. Imagine if each new day was not built upon the previous remembrances of the prior day or days of learning.
And though there are many things in my past that I would like to forget, it frustrates me when I unintentionally forget what is important.
Like my wife’s first Mother’s Day! This was a three-tiered painful experience of forgetting.
Here I am at my sister’s wedding with my wife, newborn son, as well as both sets of parents. We all get up on Mother’s Day in our place we were staying and meet in the hallway. We have Mother’s Day gifts for my mom and mother-in-law and exchange the “Happy Mother’s Day!” to both.
And both set of parents wish my wife a “Happy Mother’s Day” as well.
Then there was that odd feeling that I had forgotten something…important.
Like, forgetting that my wife was a brand new mother. [Tier one pain.]
Then, after that epic fail, I had a six-hour ride to our next destination that day with my wife. [Tier two pain.]
And the ride was with…my in-laws. [Tier three pain.]
You know that verse that talks about a day being as a thousand years? Yeah. Talk about a day of remembrance!
Wow, glad to have moved past that one and to say that I am still very much married to that amazing woman and loved on by my in-laws! And grateful for forgiveness and new opportunities!
Remembering what we must not forget
And though there are some events or circumstances in this life that I would like to permanently forget, there is much in this life that I must not forget.
Like redemption, reconciliation, God’s steadfast love, His mercy, His love, His forgiveness.
And amidst all of these things to not forget, there is one that I often do forget. And it is remembering why God chose to leave me on this earth once I become a believer in the gospel. Because if I do forget this, I become like what Jesus warned against in Matthew 5…
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. (Matthew 5:13-15)
In other words, I lose sight of my purpose and have no saltiness for preservation nor light for showing the way.
We had an event that we hosted this past weekend at our church called RedLife: Strategies for Intentional Living. I had the privilege of teaching a session titled Understanding How God Accomplishes His Agenda in Your Life and I was reminded of this important topic of my purpose on this earth as I taught through it.
The redefining nature of the gospel
It all starts with having a proper view of the gospel. Because if the gospel truly is the power of God and transforms every area of life, then how we work, rest, and play is now re-informed by the gospel of Jesus. All of life, in all contexts, with all people.
Life used to be seen through one grid and now it is seen through another. But I often forget and, at times, change lens and go back to viewing work, rest, and play how I did before the gospel.
The problem with this lens of viewing is that I also forgot that my primary purpose for remaining on this earth post conversion is to make disciples.
If you are not sure about this, be reminded of Jesus’ words to His disciples:
And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’
I really like the definition of “discipleship” given by Jeff Vanderstelt of Soma.
Leading others to increasingly submit all of life to the empowering presence and lordship of Jesus Christ.
That is one powerful purpose statement for living life as a disciple. In other words, I am helping others see that all of life, my agenda and my desires, are to be submitted to Jesus more and more as I life this life.
So, if that is the case for each of us who are believers, then that should be the driving agent for how we look at others in this life, because with God there are only intentional interactions – nothing is random or coincidental.
And though maybe not profound, here are three simple reminders for us. Because like it or not, we are called to purposefully engage with others. So how do you engage in the process?
Build real relationships with the people around you
We were not designed by God for isolation. We were built for community. Certainly, there are times to “get away” and refuel and recalibrate, but we must be seeking out others with which to accomplish the Mission.
One reason that I build relationships is to create trust between me and that individual. There are certainly times where a conversation is created on a plane flight or at a cafe, but most of the time my ability to invest in another is directly proportional to the energy I have put out in creating trust with another individual.
And building trust opens doors. And with open doors people begin to discuss the experiences and tensions going on in their life. And in the tensions of life I hear the questions being asked and the conclusions being made.
Help people see what is true about themselves
And in really listening to the story of another, I then have the opportunity to help them see what is true about themselves, whether it be a strength or a weakness. I help them see their potential for impact for the Kingdom. This is why a long-term relationship of trust is so very important. It allows me to see their current tension through the lens of the bigger scope of their life.
Now help them do something about it
There really needs to be a final step. Yes, sometimes just listening to the story of another is what is needed for an individual. But if we are hearing poor conclusions that stem from poor questions, then we must engage. Part of living life in community is providing hope to another when their problems in life are so big that their “blinders” prohibit them from differentiating the true from the untrue.
And so we help them do something about it. We collaboratively design solutions and then walk them through the process.
If this sounds intentional, it is. And if you want an outstanding tool that will help you in helping others, you need to read about The Learning Cycle in a prior post of mine. This will equip you in a big way. And in equipping you, you will then have something more intentional to overflow to the life of another.
I admit, it is difficult and challenging at times to listen to the problems of another and be willing to step into it. It is work. It is messy.
But this is the why of why we have been left on this earth until Jesus returns or we are taken from this earth.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Because in the end, we jump into the life of another so that the bigness of God can be seen firsthand.
I’d love to hear from you — please leave a reply below if you have any thoughts to add to the conversation.
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