by Lisa Schmidt
Our highest calling as humans is to live in communion with God. As we follow him and become his disciples, he teaches us, guides us, and leads us in the best life possible – a life lived with God. As we know, this takes effort on our end. We need to cooperate with the Spirit, who ultimately does the work in us to make us more like Jesus.
There is another side of this, however. God does not call us to become more like him for just our own sake, but also for the sake of the world. Jesus calls us to become more like him so that we can a be a sign, servant, and foretaste of the kingdom of God. God longs to gather all people to him and is already working in the world to redeem and restore all things to himself. We are called to join him in what he is already doing in this world as we walk with him throughout our daily lives.
We are a sent people, and our God is a sending God. Throughout the bible, God gathers his people and sends them out. In the old testament, Israel was set apart as God’s people in order that they might be a light to the rest of the world. One of my favorite examples of this in the new testament is when Jesus gathers his disciples together on a mountain in Galilee after his resurrection. They worship him there and then he sends them back out into the world, giving them the Great Commission.
Our God is a God of mission; he is at work both inside and outside of the walls of the church. God is on the move everywhere we already go – the grocery store, our child’s soccer game, at work, in our neighborhood. Our calling is to be attentive to where the Spirit is moving and to join him in what he’s already doing. This discernment necessitates that we are actively listening to God’s voice and seeking to become more like Jesus. Without paying attention to one’s formation, we are on a road to burnout. Without mission, we risk become overly self-focused and we miss out on a key part of God’s heart for the world.