Recently, after Jim Beck’s Missio Dei (the Mission of God) class, I felt severely overwhelmed. It was after Master Follies weekend, and I felt the pressure of “Follies Flu” over me. I was trying desperately not to get sick and to catch up on my classes through the exhaustion and excitement of everything.
Mr. Beck has an interesting way of teaching. He’s a wonderful motivational speaker who is highly convicting, and I find myself nearly speechless every time I walk out of his classroom. It’s hard not to feel so inspired to find more and more of God when you leave his class. So much so, in fact, that I feel like my entire perspective on life has changed every week. He prefaces class often with “If you want to change your mind on this class or your desired profession by the end of this I understand.”
The missionary life that we desire is not for the faint of heart, and the burden of God should lie on all of us that consider ourselves Christians.
After class I handed him this response, which showed what was on my mind. Writing is how I explain what’s going on in my head.
This is what the letter said:
No, I’m not perfect, and I’m working hard. I’ve still got a long way to go, but Jesus would’ve been here.
Jesus wouldn’t turn his head and smile shyly when he passed the homeless man asking for money.
Jesus would stand with the people whether He agreed with them or not, just to love them, offer them comfort in a time of strife.
The oppressed and the hurting, the downtrodden and failures, Jesus would be there alongside them.
“Church is not a museum for good people, it’s a hospital for the broken.”
Are we really so afraid of vulnerability that we constrict ourselves to fit into the model of the “picture-perfect Christian” or just run away from God altogether? When will church become truth and not tradition?
Jesus would have loved and cussed and broken down when things were devastating.
What is it that drives you? That breaks your heart? That brings you to your knees? Because once you find it, I promise you will never sleep soundly again until you’re in a messy bed with dirt blowing on you in an un-airconditioned motel in the middle of the boonies. They say creative people are insomniacs, but I swear, it’s the fear that I will not accomplish the justice instilled in my heart by God that keeps me awake more than it has ever been creativity.
And you’ll weep for the solemnly honest pain you feel in the middle of the night, and you’ll gasp for breath and not be able to find any, and that will be the first glimpse of the presence of God you’ve had in so long.
And there it is; that’s passion. It’s painful and freeing and terrifying. You’ll find yourself crying out to God among all the broken people while all of the comfortable remain soundly asleep. It’s real.
God has been there the whole time, He’s just been waiting for you to realize it.
Jesus has been there and now you are too, with God inside of you.
With these thoughts swirling around in my head it was hard to focus in the rest of my classes if I didn’t get out what I was feeling immediately afterwards.
The Great Commission laid out in Mark for believers is the metanarrative we should all be living by.
I often remember the mission trips I have done previously and feel impatient while waiting until I can get back on the field. I think things like “what’s the point of school when a plane ticket and passion is all I need?” and “I’m stuck here trying to learn to be self-sufficient when refugees need love and Jesus.”
Sitting in a classroom learning about the Ache of God is definitely different than experiencing it, but understanding what God is doing and how he works in the broken places is so important also.
We cannot remain comfortable.
This is not an article to read as you sip your morning Starbucks (and I know, I work there).
This is a call to action.
These are my thoughts after class.