Skip to content

Poor evangelists?

by on November 29, 2011

On Sunday we were studying Jesus’ ‘sermon on the plain’ (unfortunate name for a sermon in the hills) and were challenged by his surprising vision for how the grace of God is revealed in the world.

He starts, ‘Blessed are you who are poor,’ and then teaches them the ways of his kingdom: ‘Love your enemies, pray for those who wrong you, forgive, do not condemn.’ In this way they will be faithful reps of God their Father, who is gracious to the wicked.

What emerges is the strangest pattern for mission:

  • Grace flowing from the poor to those who think they are rich
  • Blessing flowing from the despised to the ‘important’
  • Mercy flowing from the abused to the oppressors

In this way the Father’s heart of grace is revealed to the world.

And of course the best expression of this heart is Jesus himself, the one who

did not commit sin,
and no deceit was found in His mouth;
when reviled, He did not revile in return;
when suffering, He did not threaten,
but committed Himself to the One who judges justly.  (1 Peter 2:22-23)
 

It’s a fact that the early Christians were mainly a poor, lower class bunch. Read James, you can see it there. How different today, when evangelical Christianity has long been a distinctively middle class movement.

Suggests to me that maybe our problem, maybe the reason we can’t seem to get much traction for the gospel here in Sydney, is because we’re too rich and powerful. We just don’t fit that well into the dynamic of what God’s doing in the world. We’re on the wrong side of the equation: on the side of privilege and wealth. There’s no one can really persecute us – our position is too strong. Too strong to reveal God’s grace.

Most of us anyway. If that’s not you, then God bless you and please ignore this post!

So I’m wondering, could it be that what it’s going to take for the gospel to reach Sydney is that we go a bit lower? Maybe we’re always going to be poor evangelists until we become poor evangelists?

From → General

2 Comments
  1. Haha! *crickets chirping* Way to bring up money and kill the conversation. 🙂

    I don’t really have a substantive comment to share either. I’m still pondering your post. This is something about which my thoughts tend to cycle repeatedly — what is the standard of living at which believers should live, and to what extent does that depend on the standard surrounding you? It’s tricky because it’s hard to listen well to God on the topic of money and standard of living. Yet it’s simple as well — sometimes it comes down to making the sacrifices we hear from Him he wants us to make, and not feeling guilty thereafter as long as we’re still open to him, since there’s always going to be someone at a standard of living below ours. That guilt can be a real trap, i think. But you make a good point about grace being revealed in weakness.

  2. Haha! *crickets chirping* Bring up money and kill the conversation…

    I don’t really have a substantive comment to share either. This is one to chew on for a while. This is something about which my thoughts tend to cycle repeatedly — what is the standard of living at which believers should live, and to what extent does that depend on the standard surrounding you? It’s tricky because it’s hard to listen well to God on the topic of money and standard of living. Yet it’s simple as well — sometimes it comes down to making the sacrifices we hear from Him he wants us to make, and not feeling guilty thereafter as long as we’re still open to him, since there’s always going to be someone at a standard of living below ours (in the world — maybe not in Sydney as much) to which to compare ourselves. That guilt can be a real trap, i think. But anyway, you make a good point about grace being revealed in weakness, and about being willing to live at a lower standard for other people & the gospel.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: