In week 3 of our of series on the parables, entitled STORLYINE, our Brooklyn location slowed down to consider that when we are given gifts from God, we are rich. We are rich with gifts from God, and we are called to use those gifts to advance the Kingdom of God. But so often, especially as New Yorkers, we tend to look around and think, "I'm not rich." Then we create reasons and excuses to justify why we can't do what He's asking of us...
"When I'm rich, I'll be more generous."
"When my profession matches my level of education, then I'll start working for the Kingdom."
"Once I'm through this busy season of my life, then I'll make more time to do what God wants from me."
And often times, when things are hard, we use God as an excuse...
"I miss my family. God wants me to move back home to them. "
"I work in a corporate job. God can only use me if I work for a non-profit or in the social sector."
"My life right now is a mess. God wants me to focus on me before I can focus on others."
But what if you believed that what you have right now, not tomorrow, next week or next year, but right now...what if you believed that what you already have makes you rich? Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "The sin of respectable people is that they run away from responsibility." You are already rich beyond imagination. What are you going to do with your riches? Right here. Right now.
I've talked with several people lately who feel a pull away from their jobs, away from the city, away from whatever challenges they're facing right now. This pull is often paired with the phrase, "I want to have more of an impact." Something is stirring that says "I want more." But why is it that when we feel the pull for more, it's often paired with the thought that we have to move on to find more, move on from our jobs, our relationships, our city? Why is it that we can't "make an impact" unless conditions are perfect, and we can do it extravagantly? Why do we have so much trouble believing we can effect change with what we have right now?
We talk a lot about serving and generosity. It's a value of our community, because we believe it is deeply important to God. But still, we question how. We question where. We question why. And our questions often hold us back. Our hesitation, our expectation, our desire for more, keeps us from doing the work we are called to do right here, right now.
Back in July several pastors in our Orchard Group network got together for a podcast with our very own, Rhesa Storms. The podcast (click here) provides a great conversation with our Senior Pastor, Jonathan Williams, and other church planters in NYC on why Forefront serves, why it feels so difficult at times, and why God wants you to use your gifts right here and right now. I think it's a great place to start to help sort through the questions.