It seems like when people are asked how they are these days, the common response is “Busy.” I admit, I’ve used it a lot, as if its the new 21st century status. And it also seems like that word gets pushed around when the topic is brought up about how we press into others lives.
“I would love to do more with others…but I just don’t have time right now.”
“Things are a bit crazy. When the crazy calms down, I will be able to minister more in people’s lives.”
I’ve heard it. I’ve said it. But I want to offer you a freedom today that might help. We so often think of ministry or discipleship as a program that I am afraid we have lost the essence of living life together.
Life. Together. In fact, as I was trying to find a pic to use for this post, I was looking for two people eating or doing coffee together. I was a bit perplexed to find there were not many on the site I was searching. But yet there were many pics of people eating or doing coffee by themselves.
I think we are so program oriented that it is easy to lose site of what is right in front of us that we miss the rhythms of life.
What is a rhythm of life? Simple something that I do each day or week that is part of what I do each day, a repeated pattern or activity.
So let me offer three easy ones that I got from a chapter out of Jeff Vanderstelt’s book, Saturate. There were several ideas given, but I am going to offer three. And then see if these resonate to allow you ways to press into other’s lives without adding “one more thing” to your schedule.
My guess is that you are eating somewhere between 14-21 meals per week. Why not have someone join you? Even if for a coffee? This is the great thing about eating…you are already doing it. Why not just be more intentional with what is already in your rhythm for your day?
I am often so eager to snarf down my food that I miss the spiritual connection. When I sit down with someone for a meal, we are both hungry. We have an internal need that cannot be satisfied on our own. We need something external, like food, to satisfy and strengthen us.
So too spiritually. I have an internal need which is sin and brokenness. I need someone external to me to meet that need for me because I cannot do it. Jesus meets that need. Perhaps that is why He is called the bread of life.
Sharing a meal puts people on common ground. It breaks down barriers.
How many times have I been in a conversation, just waiting for the person to end their sentence so that I can jump in with my so called “words of wisdom”? It is like listening is just a place to catch my breath for my next sentence.
People talk with me throughout my day. At my church. At the store. In life. Listening is not just beneficial for me but it is also beneficial for the person that I am listening to.
Do you realize that listening is a great act of faith and dependency? As I listen, the Holy Spirit is right there in the conversation, acting and prompting. He is working when I am not. In fact, since God is the great Changer of Hearts, He is doing the greater work compared to my mere words.
Why do I listen? To hear their story. And more importantly, to hear their story as the Spirit is speaking to me.
How well do you articulate your story within the story of the Gospel? Because the Gospel is the true and better story. People’s lives are made up of stories. And it is their stories that shape their worldview and their beliefs. And it is in hearing their story that I am able to speak of the story. And it must be a story that makes Jesus as the hero.
Too many accounts of people’s lives only serve as a way to make them the hero of their own story. If my story ends up with me as the hero, then I am telling the wrong story.
Our stories as believers mirror the great narrative of the Bible.
- Creation: man was made in the image of God, but I found my identity was in everything other than Jesus.
- Fall: all I knew was brokenness and loss. Chasing after other things did not produce the satisfaction that I thought I would get.
- Redemption: but then Jesus called me to Himself and offered me rescue and deliverance….from me.
- Restoration: and now I am restored and being restored. And now God is my living hope and Jesus gives me a transformed life.
That is the true and better story.
My problem is that I compartmentalize so much of my life that I do not allow the Gospel to invade all parts of my life, just not the so-called “spiritual” ones.
If you think through these three rhythms of life, you might find that you have more opportunity to advance the Kingdom that are right there in the path that you are already walking.
Do what you normally do. But just do it with more intentionality.