For our honeymoon, Megan and I traveled to Paris, a wonderful adventure for both of us. When we got back, we were so excited to share our experiences and our stories. We had hundreds of pictures to share. When we started sharing these experiences with our friends, I started feeling like our stories were falling on deaf ears. I began using phrases like “You just had to be there” or “This picture doesn’t do it justice.” Our friends listened and laughed at all the right moments but the reality is they couldn’t really identify with our stories because they weren’t there. They were simply observers of the stories Megan and I had lived and breathed.
There are times I think Christians are satisfied with just listening to God’s story, looking at his pictures. . It’s much easier for us to sit in church on Sundays and intellectually engage with God’s Kingdom. We can listen to stories, visit websites, gather information and these things are safe and easy for us to do. Yet, when Jesus gives His final command to his apostles, the great commission, he tells them (and us) to go. Not to sit and listen, learn, and read but to act, to fight for God’s Kingdom. We are meant to participate in our stories, in God’s story.
I’m not saying that participating intellectually isn’t valuable or important in our walk with Christ. In fact, those times when we are reflecting seriously about the Word are when our hearts and minds are shaped into Jesus’ likeness. But these words and values fade out of our hearts and minds if we’re not putting them into practice. God is telling us, “You had to be there” and then pushing us out the door so we can actually be there with Him. When we truly engage with God’s story, by getting our skin into the game, the things we learn on Sundays begin to become real. When we have skin in the game, the outcome starts to matter to us.
The beauty of Jesus’ story is that we don’t need to study Him to truly know Him. Certainly study has its place in our walk with Jesus but when we are participating in God’s Kingdom with Him, we gain a glimpse of Jesus’ character. We begin to walk in his shoes. We begin to see ourselves in context of a larger story, not as observers but as participants. And I think God delights in seeing us “doing” because “doing” makes our faith matter more to us.
This is the part of this post where I make a shameless plug. This summer, Rebound of Whatcom County will be putting on their annual Ray of Hope Summer Camp. This summer camp serves at-risk youth ages 5-12 with behavioral, emotional, and/or economic challenges. There is no better place to start participating in your faith than at Ray of Hope. I urge you to learn more about Ray of Hope and Rebound and consider what you might be doing this summer. Will you consider beginning your adventure with God here at Ray of Hope? Will you listen to God’s call to “go” and “do” and get your skin in the game?