Mission invites Marginalization

We were never meant to be self-focused little kings ruling miniscule little kingdoms with a population of one. Sure, it’s right for you to care about your health, your job, your house, your investments, your family, and your friends. It would be irresponsible to act as if none of those things mattered. Yet it is a functional human tragedy to live only for those things. It is a fundamental denial of your humanity to narrow the size of your life to the size of your own existence, because you were created to be an “above and more” being. You were made to be transcendent.
— Paul Tripp, Quest for More
He must become greater; I must become less
— John 3:30

As we think about what it means to declare and display the kingdom of God, [i.e mission] one of the realities that inevitably flies in the face of our current age and our flesh is that IT'S NOT ABOUT US

In a world of self-promotion and selfies, this invitation from God to invite others into His kingdom is a reminder that it's His kingdom and not ours.  This is an important truth to keep in view because the temptation can easily and subtly move towards it being about us; what we are doing or what we have done, what we know and who we know. 

The mission that God invites His children into though is not about putting us into the spotlight.  This has very practical, but also humbling implications as we consider how our words and actions play a part in moving people towards Jesus.  And what this means is that sometimes we will be marginalized in order for Jesus to be honored and His children to be served for the sake of moving people towards Him.

This might look like...

  • Doing things behind the scenes that might never be noticed to make your workplace, your home or your neighborhood a better place
  • Providing counsel and support to people at work or at school who might never thank you or who might advance further than you
  • Acknowledging your own weakness and limitations so that others can see that your help, your strength and your identity doesn't rest in your talents, successes and accomplishments but in the One who loves us regardless and in spite of those things

Whether an artist, an entrepreneur, a student or a mom, mission will involve being marginalized, meaning that there will be moments, more often that we like to think, when we will have to move ourselves to the margins so that God can more clearly be seen, displayed and portrayed in and through our lives.  

And yet in the beauty of this humbling reality we remember...

  1. Jesus models this for repeatedly and lived it for us perfectly - Read through the gospels and notice all the times where Jesus deflects glory away from Himself.  In fact, the Bible tells us that the only time when Jesus was most clearly glorified was on the cross [Philippians 2:9-11]. He was most clearly glorified through His death, that is something for us to consider.
  2. God never loses sight of us and sees everything - Of course this is humbling, but in the mundane moments, in those tasks we take on to clean our homes or improve our workplace that no one acknowledges, God sees it.  We can know that when we are being marginalized in the eyes of man, God never loses sight of us.

Mission is about pointing people to God and this means learning to point people away from ourselves or at least being an imperfect vessel that is learning to display Him in weakness and trust.  Mission will require being marginalized but when we embrace that, we meet and see Jesus in the margins.

So...

  • Where or when am I not willing to be marginalized for the sake of serving others?
  • Why do I struggle with being marginalized?
  • What would it look like to stop feigning perfection and having it all together at work, at home, on Instagram? How might that open doors to conversation about Jesus?
  • How might meditating on Jesus' example of being marginalized help me take steps forward?