‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
Luke 4 v18-19
Those words, from Luke chapter 4, are the words of Jesus, reading from the prophet Isaiah at the beginning of his ministry. These words are his mission statement and his job description. If you want to understand who Jesus is and what he stood for, much of it is summarised in these powerful words.
When we think about Risk-taking Mission and Service, we do so because we follow a God of risk-taking mission and service, and who was prepared to lay aside his rights, entitlements and preferences for our sakes. Philippians chapter 2 tells us that Jesus “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.”
In his life and ministry Jesus frequently demonstrated taking holy risks in order to love and serve other people.
He took a risk by coming to earth as a human baby, a refugee whose life was immediately in danger from a king who tried to kill him. He took a risk by associating with people who could ruin his reputation, when he ate with the tax collectors and prostitutes. He took a risk when he healed the lepers, by touching those with a disease spread by touch. He took a risk when he challenged the injustice and exploitation of the poor when he turned over the tables in the temple, and made powerful men his enemies.
Jesus demonstrated the kind of life that we should live – a life of risk-taking mission and service which is not afraid to step out of our comfort zones in order to demonstrate the love of God in word and action.
Think for a moment about your own church. What outreach programmes is your church involved in, and which ones make the greatest impact on the lives of people in your community who are not part of your church? How do you think your church is perceived by those in the community who have little power – the poor, the unemployed, the refugees?
Today Robert Schnase offers us this prayer and challenge:
Lead us, we pray, in the ways of justice, mercy and peace.
Inspire s to live for all, to assist in ways open to us to alleviate the suffering of others.
Challenge: List two critical unmet needs in your community that reveal brokenness and suffering. Pray for your church, or another church, to find ways to make a difference.