A few months ago a friend of mine invited me to go to a Ben Harper concert with him. He guaranteed me beforehand that he’d find a way to get us backstage. When we arrived at the security gate, my friend flashed a “badge” and, sure enough, security waved us right in. Once inside, he informed me that he’d now find a way to get us on-stage – while the band was actually playing. My general skepticism turned to complete disbelief as we approached the security personnel guarding the stairs to the stage. I had no idea what badge my friend was flashing that night, but I was fairly certain that there was no possible way we’d step foot on that stage.
Ben Harper and his band mates were already two songs into their set. I was content with having come this far, and I knew that, regardless of my friend’s badge, I wasn’t supposed to be on the stage that night. I stayed behind, looking on as my friend once again flashed his “badge.” To my surprise, security opened the gate, and I watched my friend ascend the steps to the stage and take a seat next the sound engineer.
For the next hour and a half, my friend watched Ben Harper and his band perform from the best seat in the house.
His “badge?” A membership card to the local gym.
Sometimes you have to give yourself permission. If you wait around for the world to open up doors for you to serve or make a difference, chances are you’ll be forever stuck at the starting line. There is a time and a place for knocking on doors, seizing opportunities, creating new realities, taking initiative.
For Christians, permission to engage the world in ministry is grounded in the Great Commission: “Go, therefore, into all the world…,” commanded Jesus. “Preach the Good News. Practice the Good News. Be the Good News.” It’s a reminder that you don’t need to ask the world for its permission to make a difference. In fact, if you ask the world for permission, it will likely refuse. Over and over again, Jesus said, “Go and do…”
On most days, that’s all the permission you need.
Photo: Santi Villamarin