Outside my office window here at the church― a cluster of common day lilies along Dickinson Street gently sways in the warm summer breeze. Across the street, another clump of these familiar orange flowering perennials are growing along a row of shrubs. During this time of the year, they can be spotted in many of our gardens, along the roadside and even oceanside. But like so many other landscaping plants that were introduced to the U.S. in the late 19th century as ornamentals, the day lily has become invasive― oftentimes choking out native species. There’s a lesson for us here…
I just recently visited the website of a parachurch ministry: RightNow Media. They believe the mission of the Church matters― and essentially our ministry as Christians, is to become “traders”… To unleash and mobilize one another to live like Jesus in our homes, neighborhoods, at work, and around the world― by trading in (“traders”) the pursuit of the American Dream for a world that desperately needs Jesus Christ! Becoming a “trader” involves sacrifice, focus, and faith.
How often have we seen, in the pursuit of the American Dream― the subtle “squeeze” that can be placed on us, to become more-and-more like the world around us, and less-and-less like Jesus? It can often become invasive, much like the day lilies growing alongside the road. And isn’t that exactly what the Bible tells us, as believers, to avoid? In his translation of Romans 12:1-2, J.B. Phillips quotes the Apostle Paul’s words: “With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give Him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable by Him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-mold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.”
God is looking for Traders― individuals whose first priority is to live like Jesus; in a world that would otherwise overwhelm us and “squeeze us into its own mold.” What’s your dream? If it doesn’t measure up to God’s plan for you― are you willing to trade it in?