Last night, in our monthly concert of prayer, I led off with a devotional from 1 Peter 2:9-10.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
The connection between the two texts lies with the word proclaim. As missionaries of sorts in the places where we live, work, and play, God has made us His own for the purpose of humbly proclaiming the excellencies of Jesus to those who don’t know Him. A person with a gospel-shaped identity gets this and lives it out by God’s grace on an ongoing basis.
Christians should be engaged with others. Mission for a contextualized believer is a matter of everyday life–of developing nonsuperficial relationships with their neighbors, colleagues, and others in the city.
Then he goes on to offer practical, simple ways to do this with neighbors in particular:
- Take regular walks in your neighborhood to meet others who are out and about. Keep a regular schedule. Go to the same places at the same time for groceries, haircuts, coffee, shopping. This is one of the main ways you get to know those who live geographically near.
- Find ways to get to know others in your building or neighborhood–through a common laundry area, at resident meetings, and in numerous other ways [like neighborhood book clubs!]
- Find an avocation or hobby you can do with others in the city. For example, don’t form a Christian backpacking club, join an existing one.
- Volunteer alongside other neighborhood residents at nonprofits and with other programs.
- If you have children, be involved at the school and get to know other parents.
- Participate in city events–fund-raisers, festivals, cleanups, summer shows, concerts, etc.
- Serve in your neighborhood. Visit the community board meeting. Pick up litter regularly. Get involved in neighborhood associations. Find individual neighbors (especially elderly ones) and find ways of serving then.
- Be hospitable to neighbors–when and where appropriate, invite them over for a meal or a movie, etc.
Why not prayerfully pick one or two of these suggestions to implement in your own “live-like-a-missionary” life and see what God will do?
Keller also has some suggestions for ways to engage with colleagues, coworkers, and friends. Lord willing, I will include those in my next post.