Taking It and Making It Mine…

Today we had the privilege of having a young man in high school guest blog for us. His name is Caleb and he is quite a remarkable student whose life experiences, thoughtful challenges, and genuine desire to learn have brought-forth a unique and interesting discussion. Hope you enjoy…and thanks Caleb for your honesty!

Over the past months it seems more and more often I have found myself in conversations about what it means to have faith and how to spread it with those I come into contact with. Growing up a MK (Missionary Kid) in West Africa, my whole life revolved around this question. My parents, by living out God’s call for their lives in missions, had directly affected the experiences I would encounter and my understanding of faith. From as long as I can remember I have considered myself a follower of Jesus. Being the youngest of three kids I looked up to and admired my brother and sister as well as my parents as role models in Christ. This was great! Everything I did was with a Godly overtone because of a Christian household where we were intentionally sharing Christ to our neighbors.

Now our family lives in the United States, and both my siblings are in college. Reflecting on the last five years back in our “home” country I find new incite. How have I shared my faith with the people around me like I was taught growing up in the mission field? Have I answered the call of the Great Commission? These questions poke at another. Have I truly been following Christ or am I just doing what has been right by the eyes of my parents and siblings and the Church? This is a hard question to answer. Of course I want to say “absolutely” and live a life full of Christ, but how do I know for sure that it is genuine. After many weeks of wrestling with this question, I don’t have the answer, but I do understand the question better. I must leave the security of knowing I have the excuse of saying, “oh my parents were missionaries,” as a shield to prove my faith. Accepting responsibility to live out my faith and know that it is the most important part of my life in needed to step away from using excuses such as these.

To share Christianity with the people I come into contact with is difficult. Although this may seem counter-intuitive coming from an MK it is something I struggle with. I have been called to be the salt of Jesus, but how do I make sure not to lose my flavor! Although my parents are church planters, I for myself must decide to take the bold step to share my faith. I was born into a Christian household, and baptized as a Christian. As I contemplate these questions, I think the answer is specific recommitment. Being committed to sharing my faith intentionally and directly as a missionary to all I come into contact with.

One of the most time-consuming parts of my life is school. As a junior going to a Christian private school it would seem to be easier to step out in faith and live the life we as Christians dream of all living. But many times I find it more difficult than ever to live out the commitments we have made in a setting such as this. I fear being scrutinized for asking the difficult questions to people who might be in the same situation as me, worried to share their faith. This is a chance for me to live out the calling Christ has for me. In West Africa, we were a family in a foreign missions-field, but to me my foreign missions-field is right here at “home,” a private Christian high school in Pennsylvania. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

Would I actually tell someone about Christ?

This is the start of a discussion that we’ll have on the blog this week.

Honesty, is not always the easiest policy to follow when you put things out on the internet. Why? Well, there is a vulnerability that comes with it. It’s a bit like cracking open your journal and allowing people to see the real and raw side of life. The question becomes – how strongly do we feel about the subject matter we are talking about? It is a bit easier to talk honestly about something that we feel strongly about, or something that is a deeply held conviction or belief.

So, why is it that we are so timid with our faith? Remember, honesty is the policy here today. You’ll probably read this from the comfort of your own home, or office, or maybe tucked in the corner of a little café. If any of these are true, or any other place you might be located, you are safe to answer this question in your own mind. Your thoughts are safe as you mull this over.

Be honest with yourself though. Why is it so hard to openly share our faith with the people we encounter in our lives – the guy you see every day at work, your neighbor across the hedges, the girl who sits in front of you in math, the person who just passed you in the café? What if they don’t know the ridiculous love that Christ has for them? What if they are struggling with something that no one knows about and all they need is the love of Christ to be demonstrated to them?

I’ll be honest here. I think I miss these opportunities all the time. But why? Am I afraid of their perception of me? Do I think that they’ll think that I’m a religious nut? Do I not love them enough to care about how they’re doing? Or, maybe I feel ill equipped as far as what to say or how to respond? Whatever it is, at least I can be honest enough with myself to recognize my short-comings.

But it can’t end there. To recognize something that isn’t quite right in our lives, and simply move on, is like recognizing an injustice but being to cowardly to do anything about it. I mean, didn’t Jesus tell us in the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations…”? Jesus said this to his disciples, but that is for you and me today. We’re part of that plan! But, how serious do we take that command? Or, the question that we talked about at the beginning, how strongly do I feel about the subject matter we are talking about? Well, when I think of it that way, things change. I do feel strongly about the freedom that someone can experience in Christ! I do feel strongly about loving your neighbor as yourself! I think I would want someone to tell me about this Jesus guy if I didn’t know him.

So, today, may we be bold and show the love of Christ to those around us. May we speak the words that are sometimes hard to say, knowing that it’s God at work in us. Christ chose to use us as his “body” here on earth to continue building his Kingdom. That should be an honor…not an obligation that we do begrudgingly. Now, let’s go make it a great day!