Last Monday I was sitting at a Starbucks waiting for a friend to arrive to talk about church planting initiatives. To pass the time, I started to scroll through Instagram to see all the adventures my friends were having. It wasn’t even thirty seconds into liking photos I began to feel a bit restless. Why wasn’t I touring Scotland or on a mission trip whitewater rafting in Colorado? Maybe I should grab my family, pack up my bags and go feed children in Burundi, Africa? Guilt ran through my blood faster than my daughters opening up birthday gifts.
But then I looked away from social media and surveyed the small shop I was sitting in. There were at least seventeen people sipping coffee all plopped down on couches by themselves. A room filled with people, each with a story, and I didn’t know one of them. It was in that moment that I realized how wanderlust can lead us to miss people right in front of our noses.
Disconnected and Distracted
One of the fastest growing tragedies of the American church today may be that it has become so disconnected from people and distracted with an ideal Christianity. We’ve slowly grown restless in our mobile culture fearing that we’re missing out on the BIGGER story God is writing. We’ve painted pictures of following Jesus being stimulating adventures overseas instead of mundane faithfulness right where we live. Our eyes are constantly lifting from our communities and people right around us to find the next place “God will call us.”
But what if the most transformative thing we can do is stay in one place and focus on choosing to love the people God has already sent to us?
Sustaining and Deepening
Rowan Williams once wrote that the church is “what happens when people encounter the Risen Jesus and commit themselves to sustaining and deepening that encounter in their encounter with each other.”
We don’t have to get on a plane and fly to a foreign country to get swept up in an encounter with Jesus and others, we simply need to sustain and deepen the relationships we already have and invite Jesus to throw the party right where we are.
So look around and learn the names of your neighbors and coworkers. Allow the kingdom to breakthrough in your faithful presence with them. You don’t have to fear missing out on the life-transforming story of Jesus because it’s right in front of you.
This is a guest post from my good friend and fellow pastor Thomas Blevins. It originally appeared on www.thezoeproject.net