The statue in this picture sits on my desk. It’s called “Born Again”. I like it because it’s a work in progress. You can see the “old man” (as the Apostle Paul calls it) or the sinful man pealing off and the new man is emerging. The spiritual and theological term would be transformation. We know it by the church code word “discipleship”. If the result of our time invested in church, missions, Bible study, and prayer is not spiritual formation then we are wasting our time…and God’s.
I am a proponent of discipleship. I am also a champion of missions. However, if missions is not done with transformation as the goal then how do we score it? Recently, I was volunteering with some friends and in conjunction with a local “missions ministry” in ministering to some folks down and out. The leader of the missions ministry got ticked that I was shooting video. He yelled, “You can’t exploit these people!”
I apologized. I then asked if I could interview him on camera. He agreed. I asked him about the ministry. He told me how many they ministered on a monthly basis. He remarked proudly about how he had been doing it for 8 years. He said it was for the glory of God. He said, “we do this so that these people can change their lives”. Naturally, my excited follow-up was, “Please share some success stories with me!”
He stammered. He winced. He said, “I don’t think I can point you in that direction.”
Do you know why? That’s not why he was doing it. When we make the statement, “I am doing this for the glory of God” we are removing ourselves from the awards ceremony part and finding the real purpose of why God puts us in those situations and gives us those opportunities.
Jesus said, “Go and make disciples….” Imagine the picture I have posted here with the dude fully engulfed in that old sinful self (nothing representing the new man)…and you have someone that has been fed, clothed, visited and given a place to lay their head…but have no clue of the forgiving, restoring, redeeming, love of Jesus. Please, please understand that when we are called to be a friend of Jesus, yes, we are called to meet their needs but at the same time called to introduce them to the ultimate friend in Jesus…and to help them CHANGE!