I’ve become increasingly addicted to two things: blogs and podcasts… but if I’m going to “waste” my time with anything, I’d say those are good choices as I’m usually being edified in the process (though sometimes it’s mere entertainment… and I need that too!). One of the podcasts I’ve been listening to regularly is from The Journey Church in Manhattan. They recently had a message entitled “Seeing Myself as a Missionary.” I loved it and even took notes. This is a little glimpse of the highlights:
A Christian IS a missionary! That bears repeating. A CHRISTIAN is a MISSIONARY! You should not… can not… truly be one without the other!
A Christian/Missionary is dependent on the Holy Spirit, sent out by Him to do a special work! Acts 13:2-4 illustrates this. God has a purpose for putting me where I am today and I am to stay serving God here until He guides me somewhere else!
A Christian/Missionary is actively reaching out to those open to the good news of Jesus Christ. There are many kinds of people in the world and God desires that we reach out to ALL of them, but there are certain people that are more open to the gospel then others…
Acts 13:5-6 tells that Barnabas and Saul went into the synagogues of the Jews, proclaiming the word of God. At first glance that may seem like an odd place for them to have gone, but the Jewish synagogues attracted 3 kinds of people: 1. The very religious (closed to the gospel) 2. Those LOOKING for the Messiah 3. The God fearers – Gentiles who were not allowed in the temple but already believed in God.
Barnabas and Saul didn’t focus on those closed to the gospel but went to those ready to hear and receive! We should follow their example and begin reaching out strategically to those MOST receptive.
We need to be aware that “All people are of value to God, but not all people are equally receptive to God.” A freeing truth for me has been that it is not my job to change the hearts of those who are closed off. I will not refrain from throwing seeds of truth into their lives and I will not refrain from praying for those who I see are “rocky soil” but when I recognize fertile soil, that’s where I will spend time cultivating!
We can not get so caught up in praying for and reaching out to those who are closed off to the gospel that we forget to pour into those who are closer, more open to accepting Christ.