July 2020 — pg. 13
He doesn’t give a minute’s thought to appearances.
What they do mean is that we have such an inward
certainty of our citizenship, identity, and purpose that
we are outwardly people of shalom, and those kind of
people do not fit in in this world. People of shalom exhibit
peacefulness, assurance and wholeness that aren’t for sale
outside of God’s kingdom. Thus, neither do they give
thought to outward appearances or displays. They simply
live in such wholeness that people notice.
What does this look like, in real terms? For instance,
• People not of this world possess a humility
that says, “I might be wrong. Tell me more. I’m
listening,” because they don’t get their identity
from being affirmed or being right. They get it
from being loved by God.
• People not of this world consider the welfare of
others first, because their security is not in any
safety offered by human institutions.
• People not of this world don’t fear looking bad
to others, because they know their loyalty is to
a kingdom where appearances don’t matter but
• People not of this world live in as much peace with
neighbors, family, and self as they can, avoiding
giving or taking offense, because they know their
calling is to shalom.
• People not of this world exude hope, without
platitudes. They don’t give in to doomsday
thinking, because they know the King of an eternal
In the World
Jesus also says He is leaving us in the world. He is leaving
us here so that we can spread that wholeness, that shalom.
He keeps His disciples here so that shalom can permeate
like yeast around us. We are in the world for precisely
the reason God tells Abraham he is in it and the reason
Jeremiah later explains — to bless it. To work for its welfare.
To love it as Jesus loved it, fully enjoying its joys and fully
mourning its struggles. To treat our neighbors as we would
like to be treated. To remember that we are strangers who
do not belong, and, therefore, to hold lightly those things
that cannot give us true security or happiness.
We live to be such Christians that people are struck by
our appearance so much that they want to pull us closer
(figuratively, one hopes) and be near us. They are entranced
by Jesus in us, like the woman in the hair shop was with my
“We are in the world for
precisely the reason God
tells Abraham he is in it and
the reason Jeremiah later
explains — to bless it.”
Jill Richardson, D.Min., is the pastor
of Real Hope Community Church
near Chicago. She is the author of
six books and a national speaker.
She has just completed her doctorate
in church leadership in a changing
context. Her tagline is “Reframed:
Picturing Faith With the Next
Generation.” Visit jillmrichardson.
com for more of her work.