How many doors can you go through at once?
HAVE YOU EVER underestimated a task and failed, when with more focused preparation, you could have succeeded? Do you shudder at the thought of that exam you should have passed?
I have seen wonderfully gifted people – who have succeeded in ministry among a reached people group – approach an unreached nation unprepared. Many doors were open to them to minister in other areas, while simultaneously engaging with the new field. So they struggled to focus on learning the language and culture or prevailing in prayer.
Sometimes we need to say no to doors of opportunity – good stuff that we love to do – if we are to open that one door that has stood closed for centuries. I love ministering to kids, but in Mozambique the Lord impressed on me that it was not the key to open the Koti door. It was so hard to let go! I remember sneaking in a special children’s outreach – and mercifully it totally bombed! “OK, thank you, Lord. I get the message!” My heart breaks for the poor around us, but my personal calling is not to development. We love our people intensely and practically, but we pray for others to work with us in development. I must focus on making disciples and raising up leaders and as I do that, their poverty is slowly being healed from the inside out.
We love to do His will more than we love any particular ministry. Why? Because His heart and ours yearn to open the door into that new nation!
Of course, all of this calls for discernment. Sometimes we need to be flexible. Jesus took his friends to the beach at Sidon for a much-needed rest, but he still allowed a desperate woman to squeeze a miracle out of Him for her daughter. He wanted time alone to grieve over the death of John the Baptist, but thousands of people intercepted Him. He taught them, healed them and put on a banquet for them. Then He sent them home, and a few hours later than He had planned, went up into the hills to pray.
How many doors can you go through at once? Be flexible and compassionate, but be incredibly focused. The unreached deserve that focus.
Jo and Jenny’s passion is to help a new generation of young people, many sons and daughters, to make disciples of unreached ethnic groups.
Jo and Jenny live in Osaka, Japan.