Church on Monday: Engage


Something I’ve become increasingly aware of is how much I don’t like to wait. The second the spinning circle shows up on my Netflix, I sigh, exhausted by the THIRTY SECONDS I have to wait for it to refresh itself. Thirty seconds feel like forever sometimes, doesn’t it?

But we’ve been taught that when something gets hard, or too complicated, or takes too long, we have lots of other options that we can change our focus to instead. If you don’t want to have to wait for something, you don’t have to. You never have to feel the slightest bit uncomfortable, if you don’t want to.

In this context, engagement seems pretty radical, maybe even dangerous.

What happens when you choose to engage? At some point you may feel that very thing you’re avoiding somewhere else—discomfort. You might have to wait before growth starts to take root. You might even get spooked, or disappointed, that your decision to do what you thought you were supposed to do, doesn’t provide you with immediate results. Maybe you thought engaging in your community was something you should do for God instead of a way for you to simply be with God and learn about God’s self through others.

But here’s what’s also true if you stay through the uncomfortable seconds, awkward silences, or moments of feeling like an amateur in something you’ve never done before. You will grow. You’ll find yourself not just spending time around more people, but doing life with them. You’ll discover new pathways through which God does incredible work in your world. You’ll find purpose in something new and joy in using gifts you were created to use. And like a spark, when you grow, you’ll help those around you to grow too.

I was talking with a small group recently as they were reflecting on their own engagement. A few shared how only a year before they had thought about calling it quits or just didn’t always feel like going back out at night to meet. But now, a year later, they are excited by every chance they get to hang out together. Plans feel organic instead of forced and conversations go deeper because they aren’t afraid of sharing with each other. They are experiencing spiritual growth as a group and individually. All of this life coming from their group has grown from a choice to engage, and stay engaged.

Jesus doesn’t want us to stay where we are. He wants to bring us along with him to see the people we are around with His eyes. Jesus wants to teach us what it means to walk through hardships or conflict with others, seeking peace. And Jesus wants us to find overwhelming peace in what he can grow in our hearts when we choose to engage with our church, our neighbors, and our world.

Ashley Black

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