One of the things I have really been trying to listen closely to lately is Christ’s heart for his people, especially in this time when everything seems to have ground to a halt. I don’t mean the Spirit’s moving, but everything else.
We live in a world where Pakistan, India, North Korea, Iran and only God knows who else is pointing nuclear weapons at their neighbors and us. We live in a world where the unthinkable is happening in American corporations. We live in a world where the money has simply gone away. And unfortunately, we live in a world that refuses to admit any of these things are real.
Men in my church who should be getting ready to retire have nothing to retire on. We have probably one of the best cabinetmakers in the state now singing in nursing homes to raise money because his market has completely disappeared. David, a single guy who lives with us, lost his job in April and has not even had a serious interview although he has been sending resumes out all over the place. Another man had his hours reduced by 20%, after his employer had cut his pay by 10% last month. I have been looking for some alternative employment to reduce the burden at our church, but with little success.
The money is gone; the jobs are scarce. Despite all the pontifications coming from gainfully employed and handsomely compensated talking heads in Washington, no recovery appears to be forthcoming.
And now, we have to ask the question: What does Christ’s body look like in this world? We, the church, have to be willing to morph and adapt to minister to this world. I am afraid we have gotten comfortable. It has been so long that we have been prosperous that we don’t know how to be poor.
You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. [Philippians 4:11-14,ESV]
Owning Your Impact is as much about being content to be both abounding and low as it is about making commitments. We need to realize that our making an impact may take us places we don’t want to go. Perhaps it means letting go of the trappings of what we think ‘church’ is so that we can be more of what Christ wants us to be.