I have had a very similar conversation at least 5 times that I can remember. Each conversation revolved around getting Christians (usually the young people) involved in community service or a mission trip of some sort. In every case people have expressed their desire or the desire of their group was to “live out their faith.” The concept is that people today are tired of hearing the Bible stories at Church and want to get out and do something for God.
I completely understand this longing in the human heart. Faith needs expression. If we just keep filling ourselves with the gospel the end result is overfed Christians with a lot of head knowledge. In fact, I have often stood in front of the Church begging and pleading with people to get up out of their chairs and serve the Lord somewhere.
With each of these conversation I have a growing fear that is manifesting itself to me. This is that people equate serving the Lord as something that is best done as an organized event. We need to have a mission trip for people to share the gospel. We need to have an organized community service project for people to serve in our community. The Church needs to organize something for us to live out our faith.
I want to declare now that I believe that faith is best lived out in unorganized environments. I continually go back to the words of Jesus in Matthew 25 about the separation of the sheep and the goats. It is a description of those who have done God’s will and those who have not done it. It was pointed out to me that both groups are surprised at their fate. One group says, “When did we not do what you desire?” and the other groups says “when did we do what you desire?” (my paraphrase) Jesus response is that you did these things for me when you served the least of these. Neither group knew they were serving, or were not serving, Jesus. They were simply living out the gospel in their immediate context.
This truth needs to touch each one of us who claim to have faith. Living out the gospel is not something we need an organized event to do. Organized events are helpful in many ways, but they are not the sum total of Christian service. The gospel is alive and active in the way I treat my family, in how I speak to my neighbor, in the way I treat students at school and in a visit to the elderly. There are a thousand little things we do each day that are an opportunity to manifest the gospel in my life. If you are a person of faith you might do these activities as part of your natural existence never realizing you are living out the gospel the way Jesus commanded.
Living out your faith is done in every moment of your life. Today is an opportunity to show the world what you believe in everything you do.