What Keeps You Up At Night

When I was in the business world helping business leaders solve operational challenges, I would often ask them this question: What is it about your job that keeps you up at night? They would usually share the most important issue that needed to be addressed within their sphere of influence. There was always something that consumed too much of their time and attention. Listening carefully to how they answered that one question I was then able to explore the next steps towards better outcomes for their business and a better night’s sleep for that business leader.

Let’s apply that question to us as Christians in a broken world. What is it that keeps us up at night? In her book titled, “Big Change – Small Groups”, I found this statement that made me reflect on what worried and concerned me most. Jesus’ last command can not be our least concern. (Heather Zempel)

She was referring to the Great Commandment in Matthew 28:18-20. Maybe her statement struck a chord in you as it's quite relevant in our very polarized world. For example, doesn’t it seem easy in the areas of politics and social media, to worry and fret over the divisive currents of our differences? Those worries can find us feeling trapped in an echo chamber, surrounded by voices that want to pull us into one camp or another. And often we step right in.

But as followers of Christ, I believe we're called to a higher priority – one that transcends political differences and personal biases. Before I go on, I want to be clear that I encourage everyone to engage in the political process and speak out, especially on issues that clearly violate God’s laws. I also encourage us to consider where we invest our time and energy. Are we spending hours immersing ourselves in the latest news cycle, whether from Fox News or CNN? Do we engage in endless debates on social media when something pops up and triggers us to spend hours jousting with others? For me, Heather Zempel’s statement was a call to reevaluate how I utilized my time and conversations and whether they aligned with my commitment to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40)

I had to ask myself if I was prioritizing love for my neighbor over my political ideology. Was I more concerned about making my beliefs known and winning a point or loving him as Jesus would? I found that I needed to be mindful of how passion for my political beliefs (my words and actions) impacted those around me, especially unbelievers? In truth, all of us must recognize that our behavior can either draw people closer to Christ or push them away. To imitate Jesus, we must lead with love, compassion, and understanding, even in the midst of disagreement.

I know there are a lot of questions in this piece, but isn’t that the way we discover truth?
I considered these questions as a way of examining my interactions:
  • Do my political discussions overshadow spiritual conversations?
  • Am I more concerned with winning arguments than sharing the transformative power of Jesus Christ?

As ambassadors of the Gospel our primary focus should be on proclaiming His message of redemption and reconciliation. Jesus thought so as he gave His last words to His followers.
  • Am I willing to empathize with others, even those with whom I disagree?

Jesus Himself chose disciples from diverse backgrounds, including a tax collector and a zealot. Despite their differences, they united in their mission to establish the Church.
We should be sure that we are guided by the love and grace of our Savior in all our interactions - even with those we disagree with.

Finally, I hope you can draw inspiration from a testimony of transformation. Consider the story of a friend who, through encounters with God and loving community of believers, underwent a profound change in perspective. This person was formerly an advocate of abortion on-demand and a staunch supporter of organizations and political figures who supported it. The people around him who loved him first (despite their differences) brought him to a place where he encountered the Son of God and now follows Jesus as Lord and Savior. And from that encounter he changed his views on abortion. It wasn't through winning arguments but through genuine relationship and the heart changing work of the Holy Spirit. I am convinced that if we follow this example and recognize that true transformation begins from within, God’s truth will do more than our best words could ever do.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35)

Credit: Ron Kelley

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