Are you an object at rest or an object in motion?

by Mar 9, 2016

Are you an object at rest or an object in motion?

by Mar 9, 2016

Newton’s first law of motion is that an object at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.

So why is it that most Christians think the opposite is true? I’ve heard many people say something like, “I’ll get serious about serving Jesus after I get more stable. After I have a good job and I save up some money and I don’t have to work so much. After we have a house. After our house is fixed up. After our kids get older and life isn’t so crazy. Then I’ll have more time and energy and resources to serve Jesus more.

But do you know what happens when you have more? You just want to relax and enjoy it! You become an object at rest, and you tend to stay at rest until acted upon by an outside force.

That’s exactly what happened to the early Christians. Jesus had commissioned them to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the ends of the earth. But for at least a few years they stayed firmly planted in Jerusalem. Why would they want to go anywhere else? They had great teaching, worship, and fellowship. They had a compassion ministry that made sure there was no needy person among them. Why would they ever want to leave? Life was great!

They were objects at rest, so God had to send an outside force: “There arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8:2). God had to use persecution to get them into motion as his witnesses. And that’s exactly what they needed. Wherever they went, “those who were scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).

When it says “preaching,” that doesn’t necessarily mean standing up in front of a crowd of people. It can also mean simply talking about Jesus with new friends and neighbors in the course of everyday conversation. This would have happened so naturally.

You move into a new house in a new town and you go meet your new neighbor. What’s the first question he asks you? “What brought you here?” And you say, “Well, we used to live in Jerusalem, but we had to leave.” He says, “Why?” and you respond, “Do you really want to know?”  … “Yeah!” …  “Well, it’s because we put our faith in Jesus. The leaders in Jerusalem didn’t like Jesus. They wanted us to renounce our faith. We couldn’t do that, so we had to leave.”

Your new neighbor responds, “Uhhh, wouldn’t it have been easier to just tell them what they wanted to hear? You must love this Jesus guy a lot. What’s that all about?” … “You really want to know?” … “Yeah!”  …  And so you start preaching Jesus.

And it still works the same way today. God uses persecution to scatter you out every Monday. Persecution called work. Persecution called school. When you show up for work Monday morning, what’s the first question they ask you? “What did you do this weekend?” You can either say, “Well, I went to the beach and I cleaned my house,” or you can say “Well, I went to church. And there was this preacher who gave a sermon that went a little too long, but that guy couldn’t stop talking about Jesus!” And see where the conversation goes from there.

Even if you’re an object that would rather be at rest, Jesus has already set you in motion. He’s scattered us all to different neighborhoods, schools, offices, job sites, jiu-jitsu studios, canoe clubs, and surf breaks. All so we can preach the word in our everyday conversations.