Invitation from God

Descartes said, “I think therefore I am.” Winston Churchill said, “I act therefore I am.” Jesus said, “I am.” These are statements about identity. The rationalists tell us that we are the sum of our thoughts, our ideas, our visions and plans. The pragmatists tell us that we are what we do, the sum of our activity and action. But the one true triune God, Father, Son and Spirit says that he is the source of our identity. He is and therefore we are. Our identity, purpose and significance flow out of relationship with our Father in Heaven who loves and invites us to be with him.

I don’t know about you, but this is a hard truth to swallow for a recovering doer like me. Somewhere deep in the recesses of my soul I am so often tempted with the lie “you are what you accomplish”. At times I struggle profoundly to find contentment and rest in the midst of a ministry and life that seems to be so founded on the quantity and quality of my activity.

How refreshing it is to discover that the invitation to be with God is also an invitation to be with God’s people! The triune God who is in his very nature, community, invites us to find our identity in the context of community with himself and one another. For in the communion of saints – unity with and communion with the members of God’s own family, past, present and future – God reveals his glory, his power and his kingdom to a dark and dying world.

The centrality of a doing centered ministry philosophy unravels when we begin to understand that our mission – what we do – emanates from our being – who we are. We are God’s beloved sons and daughters, members of his own household and the very body of Christ. We are a holy, righteous, redeemed, cherished people whose life together reflects the life of God.

This life together constitutes both the beginning and end of our mission. The community is the sacred space where the intermingling of personalities and gifts provide the environment for a person to encounter the living God, repent, believe and grow into spiritual maturity. From this position of affirmation, resource and example we go to exercise our God given assignments in the world.

But the community is not purely instrumental in nature. The fellowship of the saints is not a tool that God uses to accomplish the more important task of evangelism or social justice. Rather, the picture at the end of redemptive history is a community of God’s people living with God glorifying him forever. We are the chosen people, the body of Jesus who will one day participate in the wedding supper of the Lamb, finally, ultimately, made one with the bride groom. Until that day our life together is the space where the presence of God dwells in the world. We are the salt of the earth – the space where the hope of the world is preserved until God returns to reign. We are the light of the world – the place where the world must come to find their identity, worth and significance.

The preeminence of being over doing is one of the truths that guides our life together at East Mountain. The communal disciplines of table fellowship, reading Scripture, sharing authentically, and prayer are central in our weekly rhythms. These rhythms anchor our being and provide a place from which to offer our gifts and life to others. As we enter into a new year I am hopeful that together we will move more deeply into our identity in Christ and ability to be with him and one another.

By: Gabe Smith, Co-Founder/ Lead Visionary at East Mountain 
Serving in South Africa