Reveal the Encounter Issue 8

My last blog post brought forth a lot of questions.  I pray that maybe it stirred some additional questions in your life and ultimately, that you felt a desire to start seeking some answers as well.  We have to continually be stretching and growing ourselves.  It’s not comfortable and its usually the last thing we want but the call of a believer is a calling to a way of life that requires stretching, growing, and unfortunately some discomfort as we do those things.  I have felt a longing and desire from the beginning of developing Encounter to instill in its DNA a desire and emphasis for individuals to always be growing and stretching.  It is so easy to get stuck in routines, routines that keep us at the same place and not growing.  I have known so many different Christians throughout the years that felt that they were growing and being discipled if they were acquiring new Biblical knowledge.  The problem with knowledge is that without application, knowledge never grows into wisdom.  When we look at Scripture, we have to constantly be looking for new ways to apply the knowledge we have acquired to our lives.  This is where things can become very touchy because after all, who likes to be uncomfortable?

For example, let’s look at what it means to be a Christian, to be a believer.  Is it just about being “saved” from Hell and making all the right moral decisions?  Do I need to be saved from experiencing Hell one day?  Do I need to make the right moral decisions?  Yes, and Yes, but what if I was to say that there’s more to it and that it’s not the main point?  You see, I need to stretch myself and start to think bigger than this simple picture.  The whole point of God sending Christ to this world was so that mankind could be restored to their created purpose.  Look at that statement very closely, created purpose.  Purpose means action, calling, a vocation.  God wants us to resume our created and intended purpose as image-bearers and stewards of His Creation.  Does this restoration save me from Hell in the process?  Yes, but it’s not the whole point.  Does being restored involve making the right moral decisions?  Yes, but those come from trying to be the image-bearers of God.

I believe that coming to these understandings are just the beginning of a journey to be stretched and grown as a disciple of God.  If you look at it in this context, you begin to see that being a disciple is more than sitting in a class or study and learning what the Bible says, it means we learn so that we can go out to live out our vocation as an image-bearer and steward.  I begin to see new ways to take this Biblical knowledge and make me a better image-bearer and steward of Creation.  I don’t know about you, but when I take on this challenge, I begin to realize that I am far from where I need to be.  Indulge me for just a second.  If I am to be a better steward of Creation and image-bearer of Christ, how could I better live that out when it comes to COVID?  Would I be more compassionate and understanding to those who want to wear masks?  Would I be more compassionate and understanding to those who don’t want to wear masks?  How would I allow this vocational understanding effect my view on racism, sexism, or any prejudice?  I’m sorry but those few have been around for all time and they aren’t going anywhere.  We have to decide how to not only make a stance on issues but then live that stance out while also defending our actions because we are representing ourselves as an image-bearer.  But, and I think this is a big but, we have to allow ourselves to changing our stance as well.  I don’t mean that you sway back and forth like a kite in the wind but always be seeking and growing.  God will continually be speaking to us and maybe, just maybe, we could be wrong on something and need some correction.  Oops, there’s that discomfort again.  No one likes correction!

You see, while we can have different ideas on how to be stewards of Creation, there’s only one Yahweh.  We have to be both an image-bearer and steward at the same time.  I’m going to be honest with you.  I have not always lived both those things out as I should and how I do is going to change over time.  I understand things better than I did 5 years ago so it has changed how I live those things out now.  I am seeking understanding of conflicts and issues so that I can do my job as a believer better.  Could you imagine a doctor, engineer, scientist, etc that never tried to understand how things work so that they can be more effective in their work?  I don’t know about you, but I want to be a believer that is trying to be a better believer, not just a smarter believer.  What would happen in this world, what would happen in the church, if believers began asking themselves the question, “Could I be a better believer, a better image-bearer and steward?”  Would we see believers stop being so condemning and more compassionate and understanding?  Would we see believers be more concerned with our environment?  Would we see believers begin to be more concerned for those that are hurting than they are for a nice building or music sang the way they like it?  I think one of the major problems we face in the Church is understanding who we are as believers and what that means we are to do.  I know that at Encounter, I want individuals to always be growing, stretching, asking themselves how they could be a better image-bearer and steward.

I breaks my heart to think back on my life in the church and the times I only heard of being a believer as someone saved from Hell and who needs to make the right moral decisions.  I’ve watched individuals argue if drinking was right or wrong when we should have been asking if drinking helps or conflicts with our vocation.  Isn’t that what Paul was talking about when he mentioned eating the sacrificed meat to the idols?  I’ve watched people argue over the right and wrong of so many things when there was a much bigger question or argument that needed to be tackled.  I know that it’s easier to limit everything to morality but let’s face it, Scripture tells us that Christ never called us to an easy life.  I wish I could put out a list of does and don’ts but that’s not going to help people see their vocation.  Well, I guess it could if we thought our vocation was to be the morality police, but let’s stop focusing on the morality and focus on the vocation.  Do we need morality, is it important? Absolutely, but we have to get there and implement it correctly.  You will get the morality if you focus on the vocation but unfortunately the vocation is not guaranteed if you focus only on the morality.  This world needs believers living out their vocation, not just talking about morality.

Let’s seek new knowledge, but let’s work to apply it to who God has called us to be.

Let’s stretch ourselves.

Let the Church be the image-bearers of Christ.

Let the Church be the Stewards for God’s beautiful and perfectly planned Creation.

Let's Encounter God and our vocation in a new and powerful way!!

We are going to strive for these things at Encounter and we would love to work these out with anyone that desires to be a better at their vocation as a believer, a child of God.

No Comments