Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Practical Lesson for Evangelistic Endeavors

A Practical Lesson for Evangelistic Endeavors

And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you -- Luke 10:7-8; King James Version

Let me relate a couple of stories...

I remember the first time I went to Puerto Rico to serve the Lord I was disappointed that I got to taste very little "authentic Puerto Rican fare" in the food department. I didn't even think about it until I got home and my wife asked me how the food was. The strange thing was that I was so tired and so overwhelmed by the work that I didn't care what I ate. I didn't realize that either until I got home.

The second story comes from
Ukraine. I didn't like the food there. I shared a bed space with Ray Scism (he's a lot hairier than my wife and not nearly as pretty!). I don't like outhouses, and Ukraine has an abundance of them. The streets, where we were, were full of cow-made "land mines". All in all, I love Ukraine! Do you know why? Because, the children flock around you and look at you wide-eyed and eager to hear the Gospel. They hold your hand when you walk and bring you flowers. They smile at you with bright faces, even when they don't understand a word you are saying. They delight in a $.10 bar of ice cream. Because of that I learned to love outhouses, the food, side-stepping "mines" and even snoring beside Ray Scism!

Seeing pain and realizing opportunity sure does a lot in putting one's priorities in focus. In both places the needs and opportunities to minister to PEOPLE overwhelmed every thing that I could have not liked about the locations or the circumstances.

When it comes to mission work and evangelistic endeavors it is indeed about the mission and not about personal preferences, needs and desires.

I've been blessed to participate in a lot of mission and evangelistic work. I have been a complainer at times. God broke me of that. He did through realizing how whiney I sounded. He did it through the simple conviction that I am telling people that God is most important and that He is sufficient for their needs while I am at the same time complaining about stupid, temporal things. I'm glad for His conviction and subsequent healing.

Jesus told the people He commissioned to stay mission focused by reminding them not to complain about their lodging or their food.

There are too many people doing ministry that complain. What representation of God do we give others when we do that?

Furthermore, suppose the host(s) casts a witness into difficult circumstances (intentionally or not) and the witness handles adversity with ease and grace. What does that say of our Lord?

Is the mission about pleasure and comfort or about Christ and Him crucified? Do we use our calling as servants of God to move up or to simply go out? Are we serving God or self? Are we taking the Gospel to the streets or spending our time worrying what part of town the street might lead us to?

The practical lesson here is simple: STAY FOCUSED! In the much read book by Pastor Rick Warren the first line reads: "It's not about you." You know what? Brother Rick was right about that! Whether we eat a burger or a booger is not going to add or take away from the Gospel of Christ. How we respond to what it put before us just might.

Folks, it's about God. It's about His work of salvation and the fact that He offers it to "whosoever believeth" that they may "have everlasting life" (John
3:16; KJV). Let's not worry about circumstances, status, personal preferences, or perceived needs. Let's get out there and stick to what's important. Let's not bounce from place to place looking for a comfortable spot to witness. Let's just get in front of every soul we possibly can. Even if something IS put in front of us we don't prefer I am confident God will give us grace to handle it.

(By the way...if boogers are served, gently proclaim a fast and move on to your prayer closet. C'mon, you know that's funny!)

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