January 10, 2010
It is missions month at our church. Bill Johnson gave an awesome sermon this morning about the call to stay.
Acts 1:4-10 The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
When we think of Jesus telling the disciples to go out and witness, we usually jump right to thinking about Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. I know I do. But first, before Jesus sent them to go, he asked them to stay. To stay in their hometown Jerusalem. Bill says “the key to reaching the world is no different than in our own life”..or something along those lines. How often do we search for mission opportunities elsewhere while completely overlooking the opportunities which face us every time we walk out of our door..make that our bedroom door. It starts in the home and the church and then to your school or workplace and to the rest of Conyers, or wherever you live.
I am terribly guilty of this. I often reserve the actions of serving and witnessing for traveling and trips. I reserve my prayers for the broken people of Kenya and Jamaica and Peru. Bill said that “our missions ministry will never be larger than our prayer ministry”. My missions ministry may be thriving over seas right now, but until I learn to see the broken people sitting next to me in class, I have no business going away.
I was sitting there pondering why it is I am so passionate about going overseas and witnessing, but the idea of doing so at home makes me cringe a little on the inside. Bill then said something that answered every question I could have asked.
“Passion is the degree of difficulty you are willing to endure in order to reach the goal”
The goal? to bring glory to God. I am passionate about missions outside of home because I am willing to endure those difficulties. I will go a few days without a shower. I will eat small portions and miss a few meals. I will do physical labor and walk long distances without complaining. The call to do this sends some people running away, but it attracts me at full speed.
I have realized, however, that I must not be nearly as passionate about witnessing at home. The degree of difficulty that I am willing to endure is much lower when surrounded by my peers from school. I’m a lot slower to start a conversation about God with someone at lunch than I am to stop someone on the streets of New Mexico. My comfort zone is a bubble that encompasses the world but is cut off within a 30 mile radius around my hometown.
I can’t wait to venture out into the world and start telling people about Jesus, but I must wait until I can grow a passion for my hometown, for my school, for my work. I need to stand up for what I believe, put some distance between me and some more negative influences, make coices that set me apart from the broken world. Then once I learn to be a witness to my Jerusalem, maybe God will send me to the ends of the earth.
I challenge you to become a witness in your Jerusalem, wherever that may be, with me this week. Look for broken people who could use your prayer or encouragement or maybe even just a smile. Look for opportunities to serve the people around you. Ask God to fill your heart with a passion for your hometown and ask for strength to endure whatever degree of difficulty that may call for.