Monday, April 16, 2007

Going from periphery to core

Paul's friends (see Romans 16 for one list) seem like regular folk with stable jobs, households, and such. Yet he commended them for "working hard for the Lord", and what little bit we know of their character is impressive. Could the same be said of garden-variety Christians today?

To naval-gaze for a moment, much of the Christian ethic remains on the periphery of my life instead of making up the core of who I am. A couple of examples will illustrate what I mean. I'll occasionally tack on a "mercy-ministry" activity to my schedule so that I can feel like I care for the less fortunate. But at the core of my character I'm not merciful. On a different front, I'll force myself to join co-workers for a lunch-outting so I can feel like I'm trying to reach the lost. But I'm not an evangelist at heart. The examples get worse from there but I'll spare you.

What's the solution to this dilemma? How does discipleship move from the periphery to the core of our lives so that it drives everything we do? It must have something to do with not thinking of discipleship in performance-based terms ("working hard for the Lord" could easily be misconstrued that way). Rather the key may be found in the phrase, "he who has been forgiven little, loves little" (Luke 7:47).

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