This was just one in a string of financial blows since we’d gotten married and moved to help plant a church in a new city.
In the weeks following the accident, I found myself forced to ride the city bus on my six-mile commute to work. The first time that I stepped onto the city bus step, I was so angry with the Lord, and my husband, that I almost missed the significance of the experience that God had gifted me.
God used our car being totaled to expose my pride and force me to understand the plights of most people in this new city. The anger and frustration that I carried with me on the bus needed to be replaced by a gospel-centered urgency and affection for the image-bearers around me.
This conviction led me to take out my headphones and engage in conversation with my bus-traveling neighbors. Through this small action of unplugging from my safety net of distraction, I was able to learn the names and stories of those chatting around me. Through this simple step of obedience, my heart grew in affection for the people the Lord had placed in my path.
Missionaries laboring faithfully, throughout the world, to plant healthy churches know intimately the humility required to minister in a cross-cultural environment. Yet, the scriptural command to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others as more significant than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3) is not reserved for missionaries.
Often enamored by the comforts of the West, Christians, in North America, tend to overlook missional opportunities that are abundant in the daily rhythms of life. Regardless of personal call or vocation, Jesus entrusted his whole church with the task of reaching the nations to make, baptizing them, and teaching disciples to grow in maturity until he returns.
From that moment my life, being missional was not reduced to moving across the globe and engaging a lost people group—it was moving across a seat and engaging my unreached neighbor. It was, in small ways, making myself open and available to any way that the Lord sought to use my humble efforts on my morning commutes to further advance his kingdom.
Has your local church considered how it can more effectively own the lostness of your city and community?
Does your local church have biases or misconceptions about the lost in your community that is enabling you to overlook the spiritual and physical needs of your immediate neighborhood?
Maybe, it’s time to unplug from our comfort zones and reach out to the lost with humility, letting the Holy Spirit guide our interactions with the unreached.
Editor’s Note: If you’re looking for opportunities to serve locally, here are some ideas.