What does following Jesus look like, Urbana ’12?

I want to be on the platform of Urbana.  I want the podium.  I want the mic.  I want to make a different.

I find myself wishing I were famous – “Urbana Famous.”  I wish I had grown an amazing ministry and gotten published and developed as a leader that would get noticed.

I wish I were someone else sometimes – David Platt, Chai Ling, Greg Jao even!  But then I think, “wait a minute…”

Over 16,000 students, retired pastors (my dad being one), 2nd grade teachers, international students and missionaries have flooded around me for days.  I have listened to students discussing what Paul meant when he said to “be all things to all people,” without compromising.  I have heard David Platt caution us about our materialism.  Chai Ling gave her life for her country, China, politically before meeting Jesus.  Now she gives it to China as a Jesus follower, rescuing babies and their moms with “All Girls Allowed.”  Dozens call us to be light, go to the dark places.  Lamps don’t belong in sunny rooms.

My husband’s sense is that God is keeping him in Duluth, MN, as the area director.  We aren’t going overseas (yet!?!).  We aren’t starting a justice mission (yet…?).  (We are still adopting from China, as far as we know!)

As I sat with a mentor this morning, we talked about the following: since when does following Jesus look like ___?  Sometimes, lately, I feel like “people” – including me, speakers here and missionaries, say directly or indirectly – If you are really in love with Jesus then it means “wasting” lots of time with God as a contemplatives.  Or we must live poorly, never going to Starbucks or buying leather boots.  Or having lots of babies, staying at home with them and homeschooling is the ticket.  Or —- you can fill in the blank here with what you have heard.


Maybe we have said, we must pick up the cross, the only cross and follow Jesus, instead of “our cross.”  I need to pick up Sandi’s cross.

This is what I want to suggest:  Following Jesus with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength will look differently from anyone else in the auditorium.  Sure, you may have a partner, a wife, a community that goes with you and does the same stuff.  But ultimately, I think we should ask Jesus what He wants us to do.  Then do it!

And the cool thing is that if and when we say yes to what God has called us to, we might just change all parts of the world with our gifts.  I guess it might be what Paul meant when he said, “there are many gifts, but the same Spirit… There are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”  1 Cor 12:4 & 6

The only thing that should be the same is God.

And then verse 7 says, “for the common good.”

I can’t go to Oxford.  Or Oklahoma.  Or Okinawa.  But I will return to Duluth, love my 2 wonderful kids, my neighbors and write a bit to try and change my part of the world.

Who is with me?

Let’s change the world, Urbana ’12 and anyone else who reads this!

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