This year as I’ve reflected on the Christmas story, mission has been on my mind. Reading through the Art of Neighbouring together has me analyzing my actions and in-actions and looking for examples in Christ’s life for ‘how’ to do mission. I recently wrote a blog for work, exploring the question of ‘what Christ’s incarnation can teach us about mission’. When I considered His coming as a missional example, I saw something I’d never noticed before — great sacrifice.
I’ve never really considered the sacrifice that Jesus made in coming to earth to rescue us. I generally link sacrifice to the Easter story, and rightly so. But there it was. Jesus left the contentment of home to enter into this mess with us. He gave up everything and allowed Himself to be made vulnerable, sent by the Father to save us.
I struggle with the idea of being vulnerable and giving up myself or my space for others. I’d rather be safe in my own home, leaving people to their messy business of life. I instinctively want to protect myself from rejection, pain, or even potential closeness with people. And I really don’t like the idea of life costing me anything. Interestingly, Jesus had every justifiable right to leave us to our mess, or send someone else, but He didn’t.
He didn’t try to protect Himself when He could have. He didn’t choose to stay indoors for fear of people and their stuff. He didn’t withhold His love when people drew close to Him. He paid the cost, time and again, but He knew it would be worth it. This is hard for my self-centered and fearful heart to grasp!
Despite my struggles, I long for the way I live towards others to be transformed by Jesus’ incarnation example. He knew the depths of joy that came from giving Himself away. He knew the bond of love that grew from being open-hearted. He knew the healing that evolved from being with people in their mess. I want to experience more of this in the life I’ve been given. Because in the end, it really does seem worth the cost.
I encourage you to take a moment to pause and reflect on the following questions:
- What stands out to you from the Christmas story, in regards to mission?
- What do you long to see transformed in your life, as it relates to sacrifice?
- What holds you back?
- If you’re able, invite the Holy Spirit into those difficult places of your heart, asking Him to reveal His truth.