Strangely, surprise, smallness, sacrifice, and spontaneity are the unexpected marks of the adventure of kingdom-following. In this upside-down economy Jesus ushered in, those who pattern their lives after him—embracing awkward, inconvenient, humbling, and unlikely service—are those, like Sandra, who discover the kind of adventure for which they were made.
The Danger of "Big" Service
What too often keeps us from the ones God loves is our temptation to make serving others into a really big thing. With the best of intentions, we can inflate "service" into an unwieldy beast when we decide that it is what happens on the annual church mission trip to Mexico, or when we accompany the youth group to build Habitat homes in New Orleans, or respond to God's call to mission work in Africa. It's actually a convenient story for many of us because—if we live in an American cul de sac, or if we work in an office park cubicle, or if we can't travel overseas because we're pregnant—then … we're off the hook.
Though I'm as lazy as the next gal, I'm also convinced that Jesus invites his followers into something so much better than being off the hook. Specifically, he hooks us into adventure by opening our eyes to opportunities to serve in our neighborhoods, workplaces, campuses, and communities. Through the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit, our eyes are opened to the teen at church who doesn't have any help at home as he applies to colleges. When our postal carrier delivers the wrong mail, we're reminded of the neighbor who's been living in a nursing home for the last six months. Or we hear from coworkers about a colleague who'll be out of work caring for a sick husband. The Spirit opens our eyes to the folks Jesus is longing to meet, love, and serve—through us. Jesus invites us to embrace a life of adventurous kingdom service that is marked by surprise, smallness, sacrifice, and spontaneity.