As one who longs to see Christianity return to a place of life-giving, contagious presence in the world, I am both haunted and motivated by the characterization in Acts of the early church. That description compels me to ask: What would it look like for Christians to be reignited in this kind of faith for our time? What would it look like for us to become those who live most beautifully, love most deeply, and serve most faithfully in the places where we live, work, and play? What would it look like . . . for us to live so compellingly and lovingly in our neighborhoods, cities, and nations that if we were suddenly removed from the world, our nonbelieving neighbors would miss us terribly? What would it look like for Christians to become the first place people go for comfort when a life-altering diagnosis comes, when anxiety and depression hit, when a child goes astray, when a spouse files for divorce, or when a breadwinner loses a job? . . .
What would it look like for Christians to become an irresistible force again, even among their nonbelieving friends, colleagues, and neighbors? . . .
When Paul tells us to set our minds on things above instead of things on earth (Col. 3:2), we mustn’t assume this means we should check out of the world. On the contrary, when we have our minds set on things above—that is, on things that center around God’s concerns—we become checked in, not checked out, to the world that God so loved. Having been made new in Christ, we have also become his ambassadors in the world, “sent out” to be contagious contributors, not contemptible contrarians, to the world around us. We are meant to be neither holier-than-thou enemies of the culture on the one hand, nor lawless and avaricious products of the culture on the other. Instead, we are to become culture-shapers for the good and flourishing of all. We are meant to resist every urge to lobby and position ourselves to become a powerful and privileged “moral majority”; rather, we are to pursue our God-given and biblically mandated calling to be a fiercely love-driven, self-donating, prophetic minority.
I think it’s time for us to embrace that vision once again, don’t you?