I have a friend who once patted his ample belly and pointed to his waist-line. “This ain’t a belt. It’s a leather fence around a chicken graveyard!” I share his taste for the most common species of bird in the world, so I welcome the news of Chick-Fil-A coming to our town.
But it’s not just their recipe (other eateries have good chicken, too!) that’s attractive. Their founder, Truett Cathy, adopted a corporate purpose statement that includes this: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.” The business environment he created attracts dedicated people who must not check their faith at the door of their workplace.
A Facebook meme reports that the manager of a Chick-Fil-A in Birmingham noticed a homeless man that came in to escape the cold. He found warmth from the manager who gave him his gloves and a free meal, inspiring the patrons who witnessed the kindness.
This simple act, not meant to be noticed or published, captures more about the latest churchy buzzword ‘missional’ than many books that try to explain it. ‘Missional’ is a new attempt to explain old ideas about faithful living.
Christians are a sent people. As Christ was sent to us, he sends his followers on mission to a world darkened by the absence of Truth. He said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden…Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Authentic faith roams freely and acts unexpectedly, not displayed behind stained glass, illuminated by chandeliers. It notices and addresses people, their hurts and needs. If the totality of religion is to attend a service or volunteer for an activity, is that a life that exists to glorify God with all that is entrusted to it? Is that a life that serves others in a way that makes them wonder ‘why would you do this?’
We live in a world that is increasingly post-modern and post-Christian (i.e. everyone can have their own truth except Christians). Yet if Jesus gives us the ability to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, then a kind act, generous gift, encouraging word shouldn’t be too hard to muster. It lights the world when an affected life displays the love of God to the human condition.
We say we want to be like Christ. Well, consider that his ministry was incarnational, (he touched people personally), and sacrificial (it cost him). Missional living can be no less, can it?