It was close to Easter Sunday seven years ago when “being sent” and “scattered” finally rang true.
It was during U2’s Vertigo tour, and Bono closed out the Key Arena show with the song “Yahweh.” He sang a prayer to our city, “Take this city—a city that should be shining on a hill—take this city, if it be Your will…” Fifteen thousand people sang this prayer loudly, not really knowing what they were saying. It was incredibly moving to me, because that is Jesus’ heart—to see fifteen thousand people sincerely worshiping God in the heart of the city. Moreover, this city was on my heart, and I was burdened because I knew I hadn’t fully acted on the call that I had received to minister in this time and place.
I WAS CALLED
I had sensed and heard this call previously, but hadn’t really listened. I was called to Seattle. I was called to the city. I was called downtown. Two weeks after the concert, my wife and I got a place downtown. We began to pray that one day there would be a large gathering of Christians in the heart of Seattle, truly singing this prayer!
“Our lives are not for us. They are for Jesus’ glory and mission.
So often in my life, where I lived and what I did were a matter of circumstances—potential income, neighborhood amenities, freeway proximity, the benefits for me. I’d throw God a bone every once in awhile and (sort of) include him in my planning. But Jesus has called us to be his mouth, hands, and feet in this city and in this world. That’s his plan. We are called on a mission for a purpose (Matthew 5:13–16; 28:18–20).
JESUS CALLS US
Jesus came into a specific place and time in human history (Micah 5:1–2). It wasn’t an accident; it was intentional (Matthew 2:23). When God sent his son to be born in Bethlehem and to grow up in Nazareth, it wasn’t a coincidence. God didn’t choose Nazareth because it was a “walkable” city with low crime rates and higher test scores than Jericho down the road. And as we see in John 17 and throughout scripture, we are the continuation of Jesus’ mission. Jesus prayed, “as you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18).
Likewise, however we arrived here, we have been sent into a specific time and place to continue the mission. Our lives are not for us. They are for Jesus’ glory and mission. If we get this—as Christians—it will completely and totally change the way we approach our lives, our decisions, and our time. Rather than allowing circumstances to be our guide, we will first ask and seek Jesus’ will, knowing that he has a specific mission prepared for us.
BE FAITHFUL TO JESUS’ MISSION
This time-and-place theology is represented in our maturing church model, which establishes outposts for the gospel in various neighborhoods and cities around the country. This approach requires each person to earnestly seek God and ask, “Where am I called? Where am I sent? Where is the burden that God has placed on me?” Participate fully in the life of your neighborhood, church, or job. Don’t be casual. Don’t be flippant. God was not flippant when he formed you, numbered your days, and sent you into existence.
It takes a rewiring of the mind (Romans 12:2) through the Holy Spirit to change our circumstantial “what’s-in-it-for-me” mentality into a deliberate “God, where am I sent for your mission and glory?” mentality. Meditate on the scriptures, seek God, ask these questions, search your heart, know your calling, know your burden, and submerse yourself in the life of the church that God has called you to. Invest, serve, and seek the welfare of that city.
Don’t relent, for you are sent.
Tim Gaydos is the lead pastor at Mars Hill Downtown Seattle.