I just received insight on why I felt freer to live out the Great commission down in Costa Rica rather than back home, especially at my job. Initially, I assumed it was due to all the vain distractions and the "busyness" of my life, and that is partly true. But truer still is the painful reality that I’ve allowed my life here at home to taint my testimony for Christ. I’ve behaved in selfish pursuits and some people I know would be surprised to learn that I’m a Christ-follower.
My language and image-conscious lifestyle, the things of interest that we share, have little to nothing to do with an evangelistic outlook on the meaning of our friendship. I’m too busy trying to do the right thing in the eyes of the world. To appear caught up in unimportant things, like houses, motorcycles, boats, and money choices, or sports and, news, or the latest movie.
Sure I filter what I see through a Christian world view, but I keep it to myself. When I stand in a crowd I don’t particularly stand out as one who is any different to a casual observer. And so when others talk of God and religion, or life’s deeper meanings shows up, I simply let others have their opinion and keep mine to myself. I don’t want to offend or appear to be intolerant, but I’m really just worried about protecting my self-image.
Do you think Jesus was worried about protecting his?
What have I got to lose, if Christ is my king?
It’s sobering to consider where my allegiance really lies, when I see the contrast between standing on the hillside of the Bambu base declaring Christ’s victory over the BriBri souls, to standing in a circle with my fellow nurses laughing at the idiocy of the drunk kid that rode his bike headfirst into a brick wall.
How God works in my life remains a mystery to me. Why does He take me all the way down to a jungle to open my heart and will for a hard to reach people in order to show me His love for those folks lying right here in front of me, bleeding and broken?
Ah but it’s not those people that have changed. The BriBri have been isolated in their jungle mountains for a very long time, and the sick and injured have been stretched out on my gurneys for nearly three decades. No, it’s me that’s changing before their eyes.
The Bible says in Jeremiah 23 I think, that He has plans for my good, to prosper me and give me a future. I usually read that well-known verse and restrict the “prosper” and “good future” within the narrow confines of what the world has to offer, you know, wealth and health. I understand it now from a spiritual perspective. It’s a transformation of my being, who I am, from the inside out, not the other way around.
The grace of God has been flowing in and through me my entire life. From my upbringing in a Godly home to my darkest days as the black sheep of my family. Through the dazed confusion of multiple addictions, to a careless lifestyle of chasing my own dreams at the expense of others. Thru it all, His grace surrounding and carrying me in a loving embrace, even when ( or especially when) I refused to go along.
Thank you so, so much dear Jesus for being my savior and my friend, now I ask to use me to show your likeness to those around me, wherever you may lead me forward. With grace, it’s never ever too late.
Author: James Beach, Co-founder