As followers of Jesus, understanding our mission is of critical importance. Andrew Gale, Executive Director for Global Strategies in the Church of God (grew up at Hope, and son to Roanne Gale our Children’s Pastor) recently wrote a brief blog post for Global Strategy. I was greatly encouraged by Andrew’s thoughts as I think through our mission and thought it worth sharing with you all. Andrew shared:
It’s a simple question. But it caught me off-guard when I first read it: What does God love? The question comes toward the end of the book Future Faith: Ten Challenges Reshaping Christianity in the 21st Century by Wesley Granberg-Michaelson. He calls it the foundational theological question to reframe our approach to faithful engagement. He writes:
What does God love? And how? When we begin with the conviction that God’s love is directed toward and found within all that God has created, everything changes (pg. 228).
Ann Smith, long-time missionary to Japan and saint within the Church of God (watch a video with her here), has made a similar statement. For years, she has said that our job as Christians is to share the light, not get rid of the darkness. By being the light, we actually are driving out the darkness. But as Christians, we can find ourselves concerned more with what we are against than what we are for. We end up asking: What does God despise and how do I rid the world of it? Ann adds that when our intention is to destroy the darkness rather than share the light, we end up destroying people in the process.
We just celebrated Easter. We just took time to remember the gift of reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ—a gift, not something we earned or can claim responsibility for. It was a gift given with the only expectation that, for those who claim Christ, we are to go and do likewise—to love others as God has loved us.
And so, as I sit in the light of hope that comes with the resurrection of Christ, I ask myself the question, What does God love? And how?
It’s a good remind, and a great burden lifted off our shoulders, to know that it is not our responsibility to rid the world of darkness. Instead we can be the light and love to all we come in contact with, and in doing so we are actually driving out darkness!
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt 5:16)