Monday, April 27, 2009

Risk-Taking Mission and Service

Our Scripture passages this week are two old favorites of mine:

The prophet Micah clarifies that faithfulness isn't about fancy worship, but about lives of humble service. "What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God."

Then, in Matthew's gospel, Jesus clarifies what kind of criteria God might use in our judgment: how we treated the "least of these" in our midst.

Humility seems to be a key piece in both--a willingness to the unglamorous work of serving.

In a world when marketing strategies tell us that public service can be good for our "brand," when community service improves our college resumes, and when famous personalities are tapped for photo ops for non-profits, these passages seem to call us to something even more.

(Not that making service cool is a bad thing--I think it's pretty fabulous to lift up heroes who model serving others.)

These passages ask us to go a step further--to risk serving people who no one else would choose. Or to take the chance that our investment in another person won't solve their problems and doesn't necessarily depend on them doing things like we think they should.

Risk-taking mission and service also opens up the possibility that our service will change us, our ways of thinking and our priorities in life.

This is risky business.

I wonder what risks you've taken to be in mission and service?

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