"To be or not to be, that is the question." Famous lines of the Great Bard, Shakespeare. A concept that is worth spending some time in self reflection over. What is it that we are to "be?" One may quickly recognize that "to be" is an active verb, meaning there is no place for passivity when we are "to be" _________.
Many of us spend so much time, money, and energy "being" something whether it is a coffee barista, an accountant, a lawn care specialist, a wife, or a friend. Stop and think how much of you is required simply "to be" whatever it is you are. Would you say that it is always easy, always natural, always enjoyable, or always self-promoting? The reality is "being" requires obedience, whether it is obedience to a boss, a landlord, a system, or even a conviction. And do you ever notice that the greater the authority to which you are obedient the greater amount of effort it takes to "be" that which we are "being." Perhaps that is why "being" missional is not always easy, natural, enjoyable, or self-promoting. To "be" missional requires obedience to the God of All Reality, All Essence, and All Existence. Certainly this is no task we can achieve in and of ourselves, for that which is opposed to God cannot obey God and thus cannot be an agent of God (Rom. 2:10-11; 3:23). Yet from our model of Creation we see that God breathed life into humanity so that we would "be" those who represent and reflect God to all of Creation (Gen. 1:26, 28; 2:7). As followers of Christ, we are called to “be” part of something drastically and unfathomably bigger than our vocation, our culture, and our time period. Hence, “being” missional is a major endeavor.
However, "being" representatives of God, "being" proclaimers of Christ, "being" missional is also a struggle because of the smell of that Old Master that once took residence in our lives--the Master of Sin--constantly taunting our New Master--the Master of Life, the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:11-14; 8:2; 1 Cor. 2:10-12; Gal. 5:17). “Being” missional involves living in battle, a battle that is fought in the unseen realm yet manifests itself in the physiology and psychology of our bodies, in the weariness of our minds, and in the cravings of our stomachs. Hence, “being” missional anticipates opposition.
So, if "being" a school teacher, computer tech, or pastry chef is not all you thought it was wrapped up to be, consider "being" missional. "Be" one who exudes the desire for seeing your co-workers come to know and love and be loved by the One who created them. "Be" one who spends time, money, and energy connecting with your cubicle buddy so that he would see a shadow of the persistent initiating love displayed by the Incarnate Son of God. To "be" missional is not easy, but it is "being" at its core.
My wife and I have been striving to connect on a deeper level with some friends who do not follow Christ for the last two years. It has taken as much planning and preparation as it does for my wife and I to go on a date. Perhaps this is more indicative of our perpetual business, but it is also a reality of our here and now and we are commissioned to "be" in it. We have sought to hang out with these friends at least once per month and often times these get-togethers turn into parties at their house giving us little face time with our friends. Needless to say, I walk away from those gatherings frustrated because that was supposed to be my shot at telling them about following Christ. Yet a month later, we'll get a call, or my wife will have a conversation with this friend at work, inviting us to hang out with them again. What boggles my mind is that this invite will be at their initiative. How unexpected is this response simply because we took the time to "be" with them in their world, a world they are fully aware that we may sometimes feel uncomfortable in (e.g., "How many beers can you drink in an hour?"). This is when I am reminded that "being" missional, as difficult as it is, does matter.
Sometimes, simply "being" is all it takes for a friend to respond to the grace you have exhibited. And that is what we pray for; a response of faith in the greatest "being" of grace: Jesus Christ