When I was in the ninth grade, I played the trumpet. While I don’t think I ever played it particularly well, I played it well enough to be invited to go on a trip with the high school band to London, England. We were living in Germany at the time (my father was in the Army), but still, this was a pretty cool opportunity.
We traveled around London playing concerts for English elementary schools. Sometimes when we got done with the concert at a particular school we would hang out with the kids and play soccer. There were times that when we got done and were leaving, the children would want our autographs, as crazy as that sounds. They apparently thought us as some kind of celebrities and apparently looked up to us.
That was over thirty years ago and I feel confident that there is not a single memory of those concerts and soccer games retained by the British adults who were children at the time. Yet, it was a trip and experience that I remember well enough tot write about it in some detail. Likely no impact for them but at least somewhat memorable for me.
There is no question that believers in and followers of Jesus need to go. We need to go and know the world that doesn’t know Him. We need to be intentional about our engagement around the world as we carry the Kingdom within us to new places. We need to serve and befriend and share and pray. We need to be on mission with Him since we are, in fact, commissioned.
When we go, however, don’t be surprised if its you that is changed. Don’t be shocked if there are major memories you bring back that develop you, impact you and shape you. Going is for their benefit in our intentions and, at the same time, for our benefit in our obedience. When we step out into unfamiliar waters, we see the world differently. When we see the world differently, we see the Kingdom differently. When we see the Kingdom differently, we know the King differently.
Discipleship is a dynamic, multifaceted proposition. It’s not just learning, it’s doing. It’s not just doing, it’s submitting. It’s not just serving, it’s healing. It’s prayer, study, fellowship, service, missions, community and much more. It’s a life of discomfort that exposes what needs to be redeemed within us. It’s carrying the Kingdom simultaneously to being exposed to the King in the least of these. It’s transformative for everyone that even gets a glimpse or a whisper and the best perspective for such a glance is often in a place or person you’ve never seen before.