“Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:5-6 NRSV).
If you’ve ever watched the Back to the Future movies, you know that Marty McFly spent most of his time running around to avoid Biff (or his ancestor “Mad Dog” or grandson Griff), keep the timeline from unraveling (or putting it back together) and just struggling to get back to good ol’ 1985. For a character in a movie, that’s all well and good, but for people living in real life, it can be a disaster. Sure, we’re not trying to keep the space/time continuum from collapsing, but those of us who are Christians are seeking to take care of our business and, supposedly, be heralds of the Good News of Christ at the same time.
Running from errand to errand, soccer match to soccer match (for you suburbanites) and church meeting to church meeting, not much time remains to simply enjoy where we are and get to know the people around us who still don’t know or accept that Jesus is Lord. With all our activity, we fail to live.
The missional challenge is the call to discipleship now. It isn’t about obedience in the future, or preparing for a later role in ministry (although both should be part of the life of a follower of Christ). It’s about responding to God in Christ now, where we are. It is about being an ambassador of Christ at school, at work and–yes–even “at church.” So much of my early Christian life was spent thinking about what I was preparing to do for God that I missed a lot of opportunities to take in the joy of the journey and invite more people along. I was all about goals and objectives, but not about being.
It’s fantastic to have hopes and dreams. I would never have left rural northeast Missouri had I not found my life’s purpose in Christ and consecrated the work of my hands to His glory. In fact, I shudder to think what a waste I would have been had I remained the hopeless sleeper I was.
“…for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ‘Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you’” (Ephesians 5:14 NRSV).
The point is this: We must have a vision not only for our future, but for our present. The life of discipleship is not something we are only getting ready to live, it is what we are called to be and do every seemingly superfluous day of our lives. Every moment is sacred time, not to be wasted.