Living Questionable Lives

Living Questionable Lives

Thursday, 9 March 2017  | Narelle - MECS Principal
Mark Bustos is described as an upscale hairstylist. He cuts hair for a living in an upmarket salon. On his day off, he goes about the streets of New York and cuts hair for homeless people - for free. You might like to check him out on various social media platforms. I don’t know if Mark is a Christian, but he certainly leads a questionable life. Not a questionable life in a dodgy way, but a questionable life that may cause people to ask: Why would you do that? Why would a person think it is important to cut the hair of people who live on the streets?

A questionable life is one that causes other people who see our actions to ask what it is that motivates us to do what we do. As Christians, do we live lives that cause other people to ask, ‘Why do you do what you do?’

James, the brother of Jesus, wrote these words to the early church.
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Goodbye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’ - but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now some may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.’” 
   (James 2:14-18 NLT)

Roman Emperor Julian ruled in the 4th Century. He came to power after his predecessors had ruled as Christians. He was determined to take Rome back to the days of worshipping pagan gods. He referred to Christians as a sickness on society, and yet it was his own pagan priests who ignored the sick and poor within the Roman Empire. As his own pagan religion was losing ground, he could see that Christianity was gaining momentum. He was so incensed, that he instructed the pagan priests to start behaving like the Christians. They were to not only care for the wealthy and successful, but now they were to care for the poor and lonely as well! He went on to say this, “It is disgraceful when the impious Galileans support not only their poor, but ours as well.”

Imagine the difference the Christian church could make if all of us were aware of extending the kingdom of God through our questionable lives? Wouldn’t it be great if the wider society was asking, ‘Why do those Christians do what they do? How are you actively engaging in the lives of your others in order to introduce them to Jesus?

Sometimes we make it harder than it needs to be. Here is a simple tool, BELLS, created by Christian leader and author Mike Frost that might help you to lead a more questionable life!

B - Bless three people this week. Look for opportunities to bless three people that you do life with. You might be out mowing your grass and you decide to mow the front verge of your neighbour’s house as well. You might volunteer to pick up the kids from school to give your friend a hand. You might surprise a colleague with a random act of kindness!

E - Eat with three people this week. This doesn’t mean that you have to have three full meals with people, but rather, look for opportunities to engage. It might just be morning-tea or a quick coffee. Then take the time to sit with them and talk. Avoid mundane conversation, but rather ask how their family is going, how are their kids, their grandkids, how are they really doing?

These two acts might cause people to ask the question, ‘Why do you do this?’ In leading a questionable life, you are opening the door to begin sharing your faith.

L - Learn. Many of us would have heard of the saying, “What would Jesus do?” We can only respond in the way Jesus would, when we read and learn from the Gospels. Jesus certainly lived a questionable life! How can his example inspire us to do likewise?

L - Listen. When was the last time you just sat and listened to the voice of God? We live busy lives and we are pressed from all sides to be somewhere or to achieve something. Discover the benefits of meditating on the word of God and listening for his voice in, and through, creation.

S - Sent. Why don’t you write down the ways in which God has used you to reach others? Keeping a diary or journal of how God used you to speak into the life of someone else is invigorating and encouraging. It reminds us of how God works in our lives.

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