Most of my growing up years I was taken to church by my mother. She took me to the congregation that best supported her beliefs. What I didn’t know was my mother’s desire to be a foreign missionary. Just because this was her desire did not mean she was pursuing it. As a matter of fact she was doing everything she could to avoid it. She was the president of the women’s missionary union, hosted many foreign missionaries coming home on furlough and the most memorable, she sought to push me in the direction of fulfilling her desire to be a missionary. I even attended a college that supported the possibility of moving in the direction of fulfilling what she was running from.
As this process continued there were experiences that unbeknownst to me were shaping my own desires to function as a missionary. At this point while writing this blog entry, I must tell you what I just experienced. I decided to look up the definition of missionary so I could include it in this entry. Once I found the definition and read it, I burst into laughter. While laughing, I glanced up to the ceiling and speaking in an audible voice recognized God’s marvelous sense of humor. Please understand that I have been serving as a hospital chaplain for the past thirty-one years. With that knowledge in hand, here is the definition of missionary I found on my phone’s dictionary app.
“A person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, as educational or hospital work.”
Not only am I serving as a chaplain in hospitals but I am also providing educational training as a clinical pastoral education supervisor. I suppose for the one who has lived all of his life in the “deep south” moving to Delaware to finish out his hospital chaplaincy career would suffice for being “foreign.”
I am always amazed when stuff like this occurs while in the midst of writing. However the title of this entry is “Finding the Christ.” The congregation that I attended as a child preached the notion that there were certain things one must do in order to be recognized as a believer in Jesus. One of those things was to invite Jesus into one’s heart. I don’t necessarily believe that anymore. Now before you jump to conclusions please hear me out.
The story of the two disciples walking to their home in Emmaus following Jesus’ crucifixion is recorded in Luke 24 beginning in verse thirteen. What is so special about this story has to do with what occurred once their eyes were opened and they recognized who they had been conversing with while walking along the road. This Christ Jesus did not vanish from their sight once they recognized him. What is so profound about what happened as they fellowshipped across the table from Jesus is that once he was recognized by these two, the distance across the table was too much space as Jesus took up his place within them.
If you want to know where to look to find the Christ, the only place where the Christ can be found is within you. That goes for any and every person on this planet. Jesus is closer to you than you can ever imagine. Closer than your next breath and closer than your next thought. So to consider that the Christ is already within you and you havn't realized it yet may mean you haven’t known where to look!