Tag Archives: Missional Living

The King’s Dinner


The rebellion was total. All that could go wrong had. It was a cataclysmic revolt of epic proportions. Destruction and chaos ordered the day as each man, woman and child did what was right in their own eyes. They rejected the King, his rule, his love and his future. The future was theirs and nothing would stop them.

Nothing except death of course. They spent their lives in pursuit of their pleasures, comforts and ambitions. And they succeeded, at least for a while. But the rot set in. Each day their bodies, minds and even the world around them decayed just a little more. Sickness, famine, war and pain defined their lives. They were absolutely without hope in the world. And the worst part was that they didn’t even realize it.

In desperation they tried to use their minds to devise a way out. They tried to make peace, to eliminate disease, to comfort themselves, but no matter how great the effort they always failed. Their efforts stood small and useless next to the gargantuan beast of death the rebellion required.

But the King was good. And the King had a plan.

He would go behind enemy lines. He would invade the world He made. He would gather a people to defy the rebellion. They would call him Father and He would call them Sons and Daughters. For years and years He sent messengers ahead of the invasion to warn the people. Mostly they didn’t listen. Mostly they kept going their own way. They kept dying. A few kept waiting.

Then in the cover of night the invader King came. They didn’t recognize Him even though He walked among them. He didn’t seem like a King. He was poor. He wasn’t handsome. He didn’t seem powerful. He didn’t seem relevant.

But then he began doing strange things – not things a King would do, but things that gave hope. He took away some of the sickness and even some of the death. He feared nothing. He loved his friends fiercely. He defied what they understood about the way the world works – walking on the water, calming a raging storm, turning water into wine. They either hated him or loved him. The way he lived made them decide one way or the other. He made outrageous statements that no one really understood like “I am the Creator God.” and “I am the resurrection and the life.”

Those that hated him – the people of rebellion – wanted to kill him and he knew it. Those who loved him waited for him to make a move, to take power, to act like the King.

The story of the King, the rebellion, the rescue comes to a climax at a place we least expect it – over dinner. The King Jesus calls his friends to celebrate the Passover meal, a meal that calls those loyal to the King to remember his promise – that he had saved his people from death once before and that he would do it again, this time forever.

As his friends recline at the table and prepare to eat the air is tense. This is the moment he will announce his rule. This is the moment he will take power. This is the moment they have all been waiting for. The King will rule and they, the faithful friends will be at the center of power. They will be respected. They will matter in the world.

“And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.”

The friends around the table were confused. Gentile women, those who mattered the least, those with the least amount of power, those furthest from the King washed feet. But here was the King stripped down to a towel, kneeling on the floor, scrubbing the dirt from the bottom of his friends’ feet. One of the friends, Peter, the loudest and most leader-like among them responded, first with a question, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” and then with a statement, “You will never wash my feet.” He simply could not accept the reality of a King who acted like a slave. This did not fit into his understanding of the way the King would take power. This did not meet his expectations for a future where he was powerful and important.

Jesus answers Peter saying, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” And in this statement the King Jesus reveals the plan to save the world, the plan to save his friends, the plan to save us. Unless he washes us we have no share with him. Unless we lay down our right to live by our own set of rules, to do what is right in our own eyes then we have no future. Unless we let the King serve us we will die. Unless we let the King cleanse us we have no hope, no future, no life.

Here is the offer before us tonight: the King has invaded. The King has spoken. “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” What will you do with these words? How will you respond. Will you politely nod and go on about your way? Will you reject this reality completely? Or will you remove your pride, stretch out your feet and let the King of Glory wash you? And if He has washed you are you prepared to go and do likewise?

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The Missio Wrestling Match


One of the toughest things I have wrestled with in the last couple of years is the question, “What does it mean to be a missionary?” This is an interesting question to wrestle with, particularly if you are a missionary as I am.

I struggle with the idea that I am a missionary for lots of reasons but the one that resonates most deeply is that I strongly dislike the idea of setting aside some Christians in a special category.

The term missionary literally means “a person sent out on a mission”; mission being “an important assignment carried out for political, religious or commercial purposes”.  What is my important assignment? Jesus makes it clear. My assignment, and the assignment of every other Christ Follower on the planet is the same, “Go and make disciples.”

Therefore, God equips and assigns every Christian  as a missionary.

What I mean to say is that every Christian ought to consider their particular assignment to “Go and make disciples” as the central organizing activity of their life.  The trouble is that the influences of society and our own frail disposition lull us  into the more “sensible” idea that we don’t need to make our Christian duty the central organizing activity but merely one activity among many others. Somehow we believe the lie that mission is something you go on or give to but not something you actually live out in the regular world.

We have been duped into believing that it’s simply acceptable to make the major decisions of life (where to live, what house to live in, what employment option to take, what car to drive, how to spend our money, who to spend time with), with our personal preference as the domineering criterion. We are accustomed and even encouraged to make these defining lifestyle decisions without any regard for the impact they have on our ability to properly carry out our assignment to “Go and make disciples.”

When I read the Gospels I hear a clarion call of the Creator to jump into the deep end of the pool, dying to my ideas about how life should go, in order to obediently join Him in the greatest mission ever undertaken in the history of the world. This invitation to go “all in” with God means that we are all supposed to live as people on a mission. Put another way, we are all missionaries.

The thing that scares me is that it is easy to wear the label “missionary” as an ex-patriot living in South Africa while continuing to live for myself. The decision to be a missionary is a decision that all of us must make each day. Live for Jesus or live for self.  It’s that simple.

Today I pray that Jesus will give me the courage and the fortitude to live for him, to orient my life according to how I can best serve His purposes. I pray that for my friends in the States too. May we all, regardless of our vocation or address, make the real decisions of life according to the great call to “Go and make disciples.”

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