What you believe in most directly influences how you live. If you believe having more money will make you happy, you will try to do what it takes to make more money. Be that working extra hours to move up in your company, always looking for new jobs that pay more, etc.
If you believe a relationship is what will satisfy you most, you will spend a lot of time and energy trying to find that perfect someone. Be it spending a lot of time on dating apps, going out often, maybe even moving to a bigger city where there are a lot of people.
In both of these scenarios, the drive for what they want determines how they live. And since what they want is either money or relationships, how they are living seems to makes sense.
In less than two weeks, I will be starting a church planting residency at Lifepointe Church here in Raleigh. In order to do this, I have to raise a full time salary for a year. I am leaving my current full time job with excellent benefits, a three minute commute, a decent amount of paid time off, and generous matching 401K program, for a job that is offering no salary (and the goal we are trying to raise still equals a pay cut), having to purchase my family’s own health insurance, a much longer commute, and no retirement option. Also, my phone bill is about to double (another Verizon perk).
Now let’s be clear, what I am doing deserves no special honor. We aren’t moving across the country, let alone a completely different country. Our quality life will be largely unaffected. This is nothing compared to those who move to impoverished or dangerous countries, risking their very lives to share Jesus with those who otherwise would never have a chance to hear.
However, in our American context, what we are doing by me leaving by very reliable job doesn’t make much sense. Why risk losing a guaranteed paycheck for one that doesn’t guarantee one. What if we don’t raise nearly enough support? What if someone in our family has an expensive medical scare? This seems to be the opposite of the American dream of happiness and wealth.
But American dream has nothing to do with the Gospel. Dear Christian, your life shouldn’t always make sense.
What I mean is that if you follow Jesus, there ought to be times in your life where the culture you live in questions why you are doing what you are doing.
Jesus calls us to forsake all to follow him. To give up our lives and our selfish desires and live for him. Which means there will be times where following him will lead you to do things that non-Christians should, question.
So yes, we have heard concerns from others as to why we are pursuing this residency and church planting. But our ultimate desire is to serve God and make him known, and for us in particular, this is through leading a church plant. Our desire is not to live as comfortably as we can, build a large savings, and retire to the beach by age 55.
And so, to many who do not know Jesus, this season of our life will not make sense. This is how it should be. This also works itself it out in many other ways. Holding to a biblical sexual ethic and refraining from sex until marriage, not going to certain places with your friends because that may compromise your character or lead to temptation, refusing to participate in office gossip, etc. These things should not make sense to many of those around us.
There are many situations where following Jesus simply won’t make sense to others. And this makes sense, because our life is not about earthly fulfillment in this life, but eternal fulfillment in the next.
*One thing I do want to mention is that the New Testament is clear that the Christian life is not to be lived alone. Your faith should not be private, and being part of a local body of believers is necessary for spiritual growth. You need godly people in your life to speak to and affirm the decisions you are making. Decisions like quitting your job to pursue something you think God has called you to should never happen alone.