How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7 (NIV)
It often seems like there is more bad news being broadcast than good news. It’s refreshing when we hear about people selflessly helping others or news about situations that have been changed for the better. The Christian has the opportunity—even the responsibility—to be a part of that good news.
The third core value of the Nazarene church is that we are missional. We believe that, while salvation is a free gift from God, it demands a responsibility to creation, especially our fellow man. God repeatedly rebuked the Hebrews for choosing to engage in religion that neglects the care of others. He told them through the prophet Isaiah:
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (Isaiah 58:6-7 NIV)
Through the prophet Zechariah, God said:
Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other. (Zechariah 7:9-10 NIV)
This same command is interweaved throughout the Bible and it does not end with Jesus. In fact, through Him and His teaching, it becomes more important to our faith and our worship of God. Jesus made it clear that we are to serve others, and joyfully sacrifice so that others can find hope.
The Christian who obeys Christ will seek to bring justice, mercy, and hope into the world. Being missional means that we respond to our love for God, and for others, through acts of compassion. When we find a person in need, the Christian is always to try and fill that need; and it means doing this even when its inconvenient. God taking on flesh, being rejected, beaten, and crucified, is beyond inconvenient by anyone’s measure; and yet Jesus gladly did this for us. True worship of God is through self-sacrifice. Paul says:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1 NIV)
You cannot separate worship and mission. You cannot truly worship God if you reject compassion for others. Being missional always proceeds from a true faith and trust in God.
There is a second aspect to being missional that is also sometimes neglected. Jesus told the disciples:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)
We are to make disciples of Jesus in all the world. We are not called to increase our church attendance, we are called to make disciples—that is, people who seek to be more like Jesus for the sake of living as Jesus commanded. This is the most important part of being missional because it not only means that we are to engage in acts of compassion for others, but that we are to help them seek Jesus so that they might do the same thing.
There is a catch though. We cannot teach what we do not know. If we are to be missional, then we must realize the importance of being equipped to do so. Being missional means constantly seeking to learn more about God and how to be Christ-like. Any person who thinks they know all that they need to about God has no real concept of Him or His word. Our love for God, and for others, should drive us to engage in opportunities to learn more.
We are all called to missions. We are called to practice acts of compassion, to show mercy, and to seek justice for all of our fellow man. We are called to equip others to do the same thing, and we are all called to seek a deeper knowledge of God and His word. This is what it means to be missional, and this is who we are to be.
Grafted by His Grace,
Pastor Raul Granillo