Monday, March 03, 2008

Luke #48 – Our Nazareth

Luke #48 – Our Nazareth

“And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up” (Luke 4:16a – King James Version).

When I surrendered to a call for full time Gospel ministry I never imagined that God would have me serve so close to home. I honestly thought I would be a traveling evangelist or a missionary. I remembered talking with my wife, getting her prepared to move away from home. It didn’t happen that way; not even close. My home church is Clement Church and I was called to serve at Berry’s Grove Church; they are only eight miles apart. At this writing I have been there over three and a half years. Moving away from home to some other area or another country has a lot of challenges; being away from family and friends, loneliness, cultural adjustments and a host of other difficulties that must be overcome. Being at home has a great amount of challenges as well; people seem to only see the kid they knew growing up or the pre-salvation fool that I was rather than the forgiven Christian and called servant of God.

God must have known the passion He would build in me for the people right around me. Recently someone asked me, “If you could go anywhere in the world to serve God, where would you go?” With all seriousness, I replied, “Right here; in the area where I was brought up.” This is a very religious area, but not an area that has a great amount of people of faith. This is my Nazareth, and this is where I want to minister more than any other place.

I believe with all my heart that we are supposed to be on mission all over the world, but it seems we neglect the area around us all too often. The people around us are the hardest people to minister to it seems. We don’t want to upset anyone and we want to be accepted and be thought of in a favorable way. We definitely don’t want to be ostracized because of our faith. Those may be the very things that happen if we witness and minister where we were “brought up”.

What also will happen is that some lives will be changed. Granted, Jesus words weren’t that well received in Nazareth, but He tried (Luke 4:28). We should not ignore those around us. We should keep giving to global mission efforts and we should keep going on global mission trips, but let us never forget to serve God in the place where we were “brought up”.

Further, Jesus commanded the disciples to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all over the world (Acts 1:8). If I were to put that in language to fit where I am it might read something like this: “You will be my witnesses in Person County, the United States, Mexico, and the rest of the world as well.” The principle is this; do not ignore evangelism and ministry opportunities right around us. Sure, it may be the hardest mission field, but we still must serve in it. Sure, we may not be accepted, but we’ve got to try.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

Ditto my comment from the last post, and adding this: I am having to adjust to this very concept right now. I'm going to be totally honest - I absolutely hated school. To this day, it feels like my life and who I was completely changed after I graduated high school (and it actually did, but that's another long story). I think back on who I was, and I am truly a different person.

After high school, I worked either in Durham or Chapel Hill and had very little to do with Person County aside from my house being in it and going to church in it. I spent much more time in other nearby counties. Now that I'm working in Person County, I am seeing more and more people I knew in school and having to deal with that "past life." I don't know what all those people remember about me, but I'm hoping it's very little because that's not who I am anymore.

I've always wanted to go global in ministry, and knew that God wanted me to as well. What I never expected was that He'd lead me to a ministry right in the middle of Roxboro. It's hard adjusting to this, and I have a feeling it will only get harder. I just hope I can stay focused on Who really matters in all of this - it's not me.