What do you think of when you hear the words, “go outside”? I’m reminded of those times as a child when I was in the way and my mother would say to my brothers and I, “you all need to go outside and play”. We knew exactly what that meant and would go outside to escape the consequences that would follow if we didn’t. Did anyone tell you to go outside when you were a child? Has anyone told you recently to go outside?
Church planter, entrepeneur and author Alton Lee Webb, in his book, “Go Outside”, challenges Christ followers regardless of age or experience to go outside. But not to play, because going outside is serious business and it’s not an option. It’s God’s urgent mandate to those of us who have chosen to follow Him. Lee reminds us that we are challenged through Paul’s writing in Hebrews 13 to go outside the city to worship God in acceptable ways in the unholy places. We are called to be imitators of Christ to those who’ve not yet seen Him.
Going outside involves getting out of our comfortable place and stepping into something unfamiliar in order to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Going outside is discovering and using our gifts and talents for God’s glory, not mine. Going outside is seizing opportunities to do for others at my own expense. Going outside is recognizing and addressing the needs right in front of us that God has equipped me to meet.
The world is not coming inside to us. If we’re going to reach them, we must go outside – and that is risky and messy. Not all of us like taking chances, but there are many out there who have. Lee shares his story and those of others who’ve decided it was time to get off the bench and get into the game, serving those they wouldn’t normally be associated with. The stories inspire and challenge me to serve others more than I currently am. They stretch me to push through myself and quit looking for someone else to do what God has equipped and purposed me to do.
Jesus was the ultimate outsider when He came to earth to redeem you and me. If I’m going to be a Christ follower, then I too, must be an outsider. However, if I’m completely honest with myself, some days I’m much more of an insider and nothing like Jesus. But I’m not giving up – because being outside is a lot more exciting and brings so much more meaning to life, now and eternally.
“Go Outside – get up, get out, change the world” by Alton Lee Webb is available at http://altonleewebb.com/product/go-outside/ or from Amazon.com.