Think of your neighbourhood, your workplace, your sports team, the crowd you hang-out with...can you name 3 bright spots, 3 spots where good things, things of God, are stirring or happening? I really like to run, especially through the woods. When you run in the woods trees, roots, flowers and rocks seem to go by pretty fast and I'm only looking at them to avoid tripping over them or running into them! I usually go pretty fast through life. But one day, I had the privilege of going for a walk with someone who works with Parks Canada and they slowed me down to point out the edible flowers along the way, the spectacular birds that flew overhead and the soft moss by our side. All the goodness I usually miss when I'm running right pass. (Note - Thanks Jonathan Wilson for originally sharing a similar story with me.) Part of the greatest role others can play in my life is helping me see the goodness of God all around me, the places where God's good Kingdom has already and is breaking into the world. It's so easy to miss.
One of the greatest roles you and I can play is to be Naturalists of the Kingdom, to notice and point out where God's goodness is breaking in.
One day John the Baptist is in prison (Luke 7:18-23), wondering if Jesus really is the One who can change things, is He really the long-promised and hoped for Messiah? Is Jesus at work in this day? Easy to wonder some days - isn't it? Maybe you look around your home, your life, your neighbourhood, your workplace, your school, your youth group or your church some days and wonder the same thing.
Jesus sends a message back to John "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor."
Seems to be Jesus polite way of saying "open your eyes and ears, my Kingdom is breaking in all around you!"
So, want to be someone that is a part of the transformation God is bringing to your neighourhood? Open your eyes and ears to where God's Kingdom is already breaking in. Ask, where are 3 bright spots where I can see God already? How might God be inviting me to be a part of that good work? How can I join Him? (More in another blog about other ways to recognize where God's at work and we can join in the transformation He is bringing to lives and communities.)
One small way I see this in my life...this summer my lawn mower, which is one of those old-fashioned push, reel mowers, just wasn't cutting it. My neighbour noticed and lent me his powerful gas mower. When I returned it he, his wife and I sat down for a cool drink. Then all summer long whenever he saw me he offered me his mower again and we've had all kinds of chats, cool drinks and lawns mowed. In the winter, on the worst of snowfalls, he has pity on me shoveling away and comes over with his snow-blower. When I heard his mother passed away, I went to the funeral and he was really touched by that, which opened more conversation. I see God's work in his life. I see God is already stirring his heart. Plus, I see God's goodness to me through him. And I thought it was all about me helping others and offering my mower to others! It turns out sometimes it's receiving help and seeing God's goodness in that, recognizing God already at work in someones life and joining in.
Works the same way as a leader - where do you see God breaking in? What are the bright spots? How can you put more investment, energy, resources, time into them? Join in and watch it grow.
Where do you see God's goodness breaking into individuals? Community initiatives? Community groups? School clubs? Your youth group? Your church? Join in!