When I was a college student living on a Christian college campus, I fell into the trap of often staying in the safety of the bubble. On campus, there was a bit of a micro-economy that remained pretty safe. You could eat, sleep, and study on campus and ‘do life’ only with those kids who were also Christian college students. While I wouldn’t trade those days, I wish I’d chosen to venture out a bit.
If anyone could have lived in a religious bubble, it would have been Jesus. But instead, He repeatedly chose to live life around people who were defined by their culture as “sinners.” Mark records that, “as he reclined at table in [Levi the tax collector’s] house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.'” (Mark 1:15-17 ESV)
If you’re a Christian and you hang out in Christian bookstores a lot, attend Christian conferences, purposely shop and eat at Christian-owned places, make sure you have a Christian doctor, a Christian dentist, and a Christian lawn service, you might be missing the point. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things in particular, but in America, Christians on the whole are guilty of retreating into the bubble where we forget how to relate to a lost world.
Here’s some food for thought. All of your Christian friends are already going to heaven. And hopefully they’re in a church that helps them grow. But there’s a whole community full of lost people around you that need a friend. They need you to get out of the bubble and do life with them. That doesn’t mean you have to spend Friday nights in clubs and bars. It just means that living by the Great Commission compels us to get out, to go meet people, to share God’s love and the good news of Jesus in a relatable, loving way.
So who are you hanging out with these days?