Reading a Bosch’s Transforming Mission again and he is discussing Matthew’s theology of mission. A good bite here:
“The failure of Christians to live according to the standards of the Sermon on the Mount does not, however, absolve them from the challenge to do so. Particularly in our contemporary world of violence and counter-violence, of oppression form the right and the left, of the rich getting richer and the poor poorer, it is imperative for the church-in-mission to include the “superior justice” of the Sermon on the Mount in its missionary agenda. Its mission cannot concern itself exclusively with the personal, inward, spiritual, and “vertical” aspects of people’s lives. Such an approach suggests a dichotomy totally foreign to the Jesus tradition as interpreted by Matthew.”
If “following Jesus” and doing so in community by “being the church” is only or even mostly about “me and my relationship with God” than we are missing so much! In fact, we are missing what this relationship calls us to. I don’t want to sound like a relationship with Jesus is basically just a means an end (that end being living out the mission of Jesus). Our personal relationship with him is important in itself. But it cannot be detached from living out the values of the Sermon on the Mount with our culture. We must be doing this in the places we live, work and play as well as the places we go out of our way to so that we can show the love of Jesus.
Missionaries in foreign countries get this. They understand this. Christ followers like myself in America, often seen as the sending country, tend to overlook this (for whatever reason).
God, help me to always think like a missionary in the world that I live.