Tennessee Baptists, let me say once again how grateful I am for your prayers.
This spring has been fast and furious, but our Lord is at work all around this state. Giving is up, cooperative involvement appears to be up, and, most importantly, more people are hearing and responding to the gospel of Jesus Christ! That’s what it’s about.
Over the last several months, we’ve been thinking together about having an “out of the box” mindset in our local churches. We’ve thought about what it means to pray outside the box, to think outside the box and to reach outside the box.
The question I think we must now ask ourselves, is “What does it mean to get out of the box?”
It may surprise some of you when I tell you that there is a side of me that is fairly introverted. I can recall a time in my childhood and younger teenage years when I was very intimidated by being in the presence of people I didn’t know and then I certainly couldn’t imagine speaking in front of a group of people. Over the years, God has, by His grace and calling, freed me from that sense of fear and intimidation and has given me a confidence that is founded, not on my own abilities, but on His strength, which has shaped who I am today.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because I want those of you who tend to be more introverted to understand that I get it. I get what it’s like to feel more comfortable in my office studying than I do out in the neighborhood knocking on doors. I get what it’s like to want to be home, in my living room, and not at the small group meeting in the trailer park close to the church on Tuesday nights. I get that. There are times when that introverted version of myself from my childhood still shows up in my life today. There are times when I feel very compelled, driven even, to stay in my box.
But what I have come to understand is that when I submitted to this life, this life with Jesus as my Lord, I gave up the right to live life on my own terms. I gave up the right to have it my way, to do only what is comfortable. I gave all of that up when I claimed the saving power of His blood and agreed to live life for Him.
And He says, “Go.”
And because He says “Go,” I can no longer stay. I can no longer confine myself to the comforts of my office, my home or my church field. I can no longer limit my witness to those in my neighborhood, my family or my circle of friends. Because He says, “Go,” I must dismiss my fears, my prejudices and my preferences. Because He says, “Go,” I must go wherever He leads, and I must go whenever He leads.
It doesn’t matter if I don’t belong. It doesn’t matter if they are different. It doesn’t matter if I am uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter, because I don’t matter anymore. I am not my own. I am bought with a price.
Now I am His. And because I am His, I will do what He says. When He says, “Go,” I will go. When He says “Get,” I will get ... out of my box.
And my prayer, my hope, Tennessee Baptists, is that you will join me.