Updated: Aug 2, 2022
“Hi Dad”, my youngest son says as he walks in from school. He drops his coat and bag on the floor in the hall, walks straight into the kitchen, opens a bag of fresh doughnuts on the breakfast bar and starts eating one. By the way, he walked in with his closest friend, who has been part of the family for years, but his friend still waits to be offered a doughnut. My boy knows he’s my son and he doesn’t have to wait to be asked. That’s what my kids are like. They know they are safe and everything I have is theirs.
When I was a student, I worked in an army barracks. It was a great job and I got on well with the soldiers, even if there was always a lot of banter! To show the squaddies that not all civilians are fat and slow, I went on a battalion fitness test with them once. It was led by a PT who was super fit who led us through the test. Obviously, the PT instructor came first. I came second to last, but I did it! That evening driving home I saw the same PT instructor out for a run on his own, only this time he had a full kit bag on his back!
Outreach can be a mix of both these stories. Our motivation for outreach comes from being a son or daughter, knowing that we are representing him just because we are his child. We want to share how good our Dad is not because I’m trying to win favour with him. God has accepted me fully and loves me completely. I can’t add or take away from that. So in sharing my faith I want others to also know how much he loves them too. I don’t do it out of performance, but I do it because I know who I am.
Rucksacks show me that I can’t just stay in my comfort zone. If I settle for what I can do well that’s disastrous. It means that all people get is my effort and not the loving father that I get to experience. I don’t want to reach the end of my adventure and I come to a place where I can’t go any further, let alone stop helping others go deeper in experiencing him. I need to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible with me so that I am reliant on him
This years SSL has jumped in and stepped up in outreach. We have seen breakthroughs on the streets, reached into new areas, taken risks and seen God show his love to people through us. More importantly we have answered the call to go further than we have gone before with him. It's been a journey with ups and downs that have spilled over into more areas than just our life on SSL. The year is flying by fast and before we know it the course will be finished. What comes after that? I would encourage you to keep on pushing on. Remember the first time we went out on outreach and then think about last time. It’s exciting to see what God is doing, but it doesn’t end in June. This is just the start of the journey!
The PT instructor taught me a big lesson. He was out running on his own. He made a choice to keep going, to get fitter, to push on for more. No one was telling him to do it, he just wasn’t going to settle for today's experience. So, what about us? From now on and in the years ahead are we prepared to push on for more? Whatever we do now it doesn’t have to end here. There are many more adventures that we can dive into. Keep going and see what we can do with him!
As for me, my dream is that for the rest of our lives we will never look at a doughnut and a rucksack in the same way!