11 Feb '11
The Power of Incarnational Engagement
In the incarnation, Jesus stepped into our lives, took on our body, lived with our limitations, experienced our emotions and personally engaged with people wherever they were in their lives or spiritual journeys. It was deeply personal. It was sacrificial, costing him everything, and it was intentional.
There is no power greater than our personal involvement in the lives of others, meeting them where they are, being willing to get involved in their lives – whether as a friend, an encourager, a mentor, meeting a need or just being there when life gets hard. Like, Jesus, this is incarnational – it is stepping into their lives - and it is intentional engagement – being willing to get involved. It goes contrary in many ways to the selfish nature of our world which finds getting involved in the messiness of life of other people uncomfortable and inconvenient.
This is the Jesus life which revolved around people. While Jesus clearly had boundaries he was essentially other centric not self centric. He was driven by a huge heart of love both for his friends (disciples and followers) and the most unlovely and desperate. He saw his life and ministry in light of eternity not time. He went where others would not go and to people others would not minister to. He knew that it is the hurting that are most open so he went to the needy whether the rich tax collector or the beggar and prostitute.
He made time for people! He did not simply delegate people engagement to others but He took the time. That is a challenge for us who live busy lives or are even in professional ministry. We teach and preach incarnational lives but the real question is whether we have time for incarnational engagement ourselves. It is personal involvement in the lives of others that keeps our hearts tender and helps transform our hearts into the heart of Jesus. The closer we are to the hurts, pain and needs of others, the more our hearts reflect Jesus’ heart. One cannot live incarnationally without being changed. It is not what we give that changes us. It is what we receive when we enter into the lives of others.
Those who live this way do so because they, like Jesus, see people in light of eternity. They take seriously the words of Jesus that as the Father sent Him so He has sent us. And their lives reflect the unselfish and other centric life of Christ. The incarnate Christ touched them and they in turn want to touch others. It is a humble, Christ centered life of love and service no matter what our station in life.