“Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.” John 20:21 (NIV)
In his book Radical, David Platt wrote: “If we were left to ourselves with the task of taking the Gospel to the world, we would immediately begin planning innovative strategies and plotting elaborate schemes. We would organize conventions, develop programs, and create foundations…. But Jesus is so different from us. With the task of taking the Gospel to the world, He wandered through the streets and byways…. All He wanted was a few men who would think as He did, love as He did, teach as He did, and serve as He did. All He needed was to revolutionize the hearts of a few, and they would impact the world.” Just as the Word, Jesus, became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood to be the message, so the Word takes on flesh again, clothing Himself with your humanity and mine! His strategy is no different today than it was then. The great thing is that you don’t have to wonder where you should start being the message. The answer is simple: start right where you are. The people you interact with everyday are who God has chosen you to be the message to. Think of who they are. Consider loving them to be your personal assignment. Being the Gospel always requires us to step out of our world and into someone else’s. Jesus Christ, God Himself, left His perfect home in Heaven and entered our messy world. Being the message requires us to leave our comfort zone and step into someone else’s hardship and mess. I love the story of the grandfather who was about to lift his little grandson out of the playpen when his daughter, the child’s mother, stopped him and said, “Dad, your grandson is in time out and can’t leave the playpen right now!” The loving grandfather was in a quandary. Should he overrule his own daughter and teach his grandson to rebel against his mother’s authority, or should he reject the cry of his grandson to pick him up and deliver him from time-out prison? The grandfather thought for a bit, and he looked at his daughter and his grandson lovingly. Then, he did the only thing you can do in a situation like that. He climbed into the playpen with his grandson! He entered the mess of this child’s restrictions and sat in time-out with him! To be the message, we have to enter the mess of people’s lives, showing them that there is a God who loves them and can forgive them!