As a church, for the past couple of months, we have been going through the Tangible Kingdom Primer. This eight-week primer is a shorter and intentionally more practical version of a larger book that encourages “incarnational living,” “gospel intentionality,” and inviting “sojourners” into our lives. If you’re anything like me, the quoted terms I just used may sound familiar but moreso really strange. When I picked up this book for the first time, I had big expectations for something about my life to change drastically. Now, I was definitely not putting all my stock in any book, other than the Bible, transforming my life, but I did have big hopes that going through it would challenge me in some new ways. So, as I started going through it, I found I did enjoy it a lot. The weekly challenges through scriptures about living a life influenced by the gospel were heart-provoking, and I was able to see my own sin in how I wasn’t allowing the gospel to be preeminent in my own life. With that said, a couple weeks in, I was still waiting for that drastic, life-changing charge that the primer would give. But it didn’t come. All the primer seemed to talk about was ordinary life events like eating, cooking meals, hanging out, working, praying, etc. and how God could use them.
Then it hit me.
My Life and God’s Mission
After about three weeks, I realized that this book was changing my life, and I had barely noticed it! The primer gave action steps throughout the weeks for us to apply the principles that were taught throughout in order to practice “missional living,” but what I began to understand is that living this way wasn’t about the actions. It was more about my identity. This book wasn’t trying to provide an eight-step plan to being more like a missionary, but it was actually affirming that as believers we are missionaries. The things I was doing, such as buying random people lunch, or walking a friend home, and giving clothes away came naturally out of my normal day-by-day living, and I didn’t need the primer to tell me to do those things. My life has been changing going through the primer, because my heart has been changing. And my heart has been changing, because I’ve been able to see my life through the lens of God’s mission. I’m a firm believer that only when we acknowledge God in all His glory and majesty can we have an accurate and humble view of how small we are. Yet, along with that, I can now say that only when we have acknowledge God’s mission in all its glory can we have an accurate view of our own lives and what they are really about.
It’s been an amazing experience to realize that God wasn’t calling me to move to Cambodia and live in a tree for the gospel in order to be on mission. This journey through the primer has shed light on the reality that God knows that I’m a regular college kid just trying to graduate. And in spite of me, He can and will do great things through me if I’m willing to submit to His ways right where I am. All throughout scripture, God never needed a certain type of person with all the prerequisites in the right location to use them for His mission, but what we do see is God calling individuals to be a part. So, in the ordinary seemingly mundane lives we all seem to live, God has called me and all believers to join Him in a supernatural task of reconciling this broken, fallen world to the Creator. And we all must feel the weight of how extraordinary a task this is. God is sovereign and His reign is over all of our lives— from the grocery store to our bedrooms—but for the Christian, we must recognize that this means that there is nothing in our lives off limits to the mission we have been given. It has been great to see myself and others in my community embrace this. Yet, I pray for the day when the eight weeks of the primer are far gone, and we still are compelled to see God’s kingdom tangibly manifested in our daily living as a local church.