My friend Bob, a great Christian missionary to the nations in the US, put this on his blog:
The essence of our message, the very person we represent and proclaim is counter to the system and values of society, of humanity as it has developed. It seeks to recruit and train a band of rebels who will fight for and even die for the principles of Jesus. This gospel is disgusted at the way things are. Where there is division and segregation and prejudice, it proclaims unity and mutual respect. Where there is injustice, abuse, cruelty, it preaches and demonstrates compassion and fairness. Where there is addiction and imprisonment, it proclaims true freedom and forgiveness. Where there is pride and power, it topples the high and mighty, empowering those with no voice. Where there is ignorance and eternal condemnation, it proclaims forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The kingdom of God quietly undermines the kingdom of this world as a counter-insurgency.
When the gospel takes root and grows up among a group of people, all of whom ascribe allegiance to their revolutionary Leader, they become an infiltrating force seeking to overthrow the bastions of evil that are well-entrenched but must be changed. Their methods are as revolutionary as their agenda. For one, they are not physically violent, unwilling to destroy property or harm life in any form. They don't take up arms, nor are their means political in nature. Legislation, maneuvering from state capitols, alliances with money and power--these are not the ways of the Jesus followers. Nor is economic clout which buys favor or brings cosmetic change that can be outdone by another surge in spending. No, the subversive gospel overturns bastions of pride with humility, of hate with love, of evil with good.
People of the gospel infiltrate family and society where they live as the Master did. In business they treat others with fairness and respect. In their homes they nurture spouses and children and parents for their good. In neighborhoods they show compassion and helpfulness. Their speech is gracious while truthful. Their pocketbooks proclaim honesty and generosity. When wronged, they forgive and even counter offense with a favor. When persecuted they bear it as a privilege. When seeing the work of evil well-disguised in society, their hearts break with compassion. They become known not for self-righteous criticism of those who differ, but for holding firmly for truth while lovingly correcting those who disagree. In this way whole cities hear of these unusual people who love each other sacrificially, who refuse to cheat or gossip, who live for another world that is yet to come, and who work now to bring in the character of that world for the blessing of all.
This is the subversive gospel that quietly topples grand towers of egotism. This is the message that confronts pride by its resilient weakness. This is the good news to thirsty souls that have grown tired of fighting for status. This is the embodiment of the Revolutionary in the people who follow Him. This is a pursuit worth commiting ones entire life to. And that is what I have done.
This was my comment:
I love this, Bob, especially the last two paragraphs. How often we fall short, but to hold fast to the values of fairness, respect, compassion and helpfulness is something to aim for and to perfect.
As for the last two sentences - that is my prayer. And that I DO commit my ENTIRE life. Without distraction.
I so wish.