Today I was driving in the car, and started thinking more about what it means to live as the incarnation. About two months ago I had this thought: “What if you were who God sent to save the world?” What if you thought of the entirety of God’s mission as depending on you? How would it change your mindset? What if you thought of yourself like Jesus thought of himself: as a man on a mission. A man sent by God, to bring God’s presence to the earth. Not just as a contributor to something larger, but as the one on whom the mission depends? We don’t think this way as Christians, but we definitely should. The Gospels are full of parables telling us that we should think this way, and yet it apparently is very hard for us to internalize.
If you have ever had something very significant depending either solely, or largely on you, you know the kinds of feelings I am talking about. There is a singular focus that takes over. Everything fades out of view as the mission takes over. A sense of urgency that says “I cannot let everyone down. I must come through and I will come through” Today though, I was realizing an even greater dimension of what this means: the sense of relationship that comes from it.
I realized that ever since having that initial thought about being God’s sent one, my orientation has started to change. I am having very different feelings about my life. They go something like this “God how can we make this happen” and “God how can I get something done here for you.” I feel that God is depending on me. Our hidden Calvinist categories of the world normally prevent us from having this thought, but I believe it is completely true. God already sent His son, and he does not have another one. His only instrument for accomplishing things on the earth is regular human beings. He does nothing apart from them. History is shaped by what those believing in God stand up and do. God may not “need” you in any emotional sense, but he does “need” you in a very practical sense. God needs partners on the earth to fulfill his purposes. Now I do not believe God is in any “danger” of not having partners, but that does not take away from the fact, that he does require them, and you have a very real choice whether or not you will be on of them.
This whole line of thinking has been shifting me into a much more relational posture. Knowing that I am God’s outpost on earth somehow eliminates the thinking that I am going to do something “for” God. Instead I keep thinking about what I am going to do “with” God. I am his hands and feet. He is looking for someone, and I want to be that one. He wants to do amazing things through my corporeal body, but the question is will I flow with Him to bring lost people to know Him.
I was recently given occasion to understand this as I have a friend who is a strong believer and his father is very rich. The father has blessed my friend in many amazing ways, to the point where there is really nothing the son can do for the father except say “thank you,” and after a while that just sound trite. By contrast, my friend’s brother is completely lost, and the relationship between his brother and his dad is very strained. And therefore the friend has come to realize that there is one thing he can give to his father or at least try — a relationship with the lost brother. The father would do anything to have his lost son back, and if my friend could some how make that happen, it would be worth more than any gift he could ever give. His dad has many things, but his heart is empty without the love of the lost son.
Seeing this situation in real life helped me to see how God really feels. He has “lost sons” all over this earth. And he cannot get a relationship back with them on his own. He needs the “good sons” to go out and try to help bring reconciliation. You can’t give God anything, really, but you can give him this one thing. It’s the one thing He lacks, and it’s also the one thing he cares about more than anything else. What good does it do Him to possess the whole universe if his son is lost to him? You see what I mean? If you had a wayward son, what price wouldn’t you give to have them back?
Now I hope you are seeing the picture. God is so into this. I’m feeling emotionally connected with him on it in a whole new way as I go down this path — my heart says “God I want to bring back your lost sons” and His heart says back “Son, all the vast resources of my wealth are available to you. Anything you need to do it, I will give you.” It’s like if you were in charge of Seal Team 6, with the assignment to rescue the President’s daughter in a hostage situation. Money? Helicopters? Weapons? Men? No problem. Not even a question. Whatever is needed, you’ve got it. Just deliver.
Let that impact you. I have served God a long time and I have loved God a long time, but never really been able to put the two together very well. Now it’s impacting me at a whole new level. I am God’s man for the hour (each of us should be) and I have His unlimited resources to do a mission that is very very dear to his heart. He is counting on me. Not only that, He is in it with me. I am his hands on the earth. Together, we will fulfill the mission. I don’t plan to let Him down.